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Rubber exports fetch $231M in nine months

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Workers extract rubber sap from a tree. Post Pix

Rubber exports fetch $231M in nine months

Cambodia exported $231 million worth of rubber in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year increase of nearly 22 per cent from $190 million last year, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said on Monday.

Khuon Phalla, director of the Department of Administration and Legislation under the ministry’s General Directorate of Rubber, told The Post on Monday that Cambodia’s rubber exports during the period reached 173,072 tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 23.35 per cent from 140,303 tonnes.

“I think that according to the global market trend, rubber demand and prices will remain stable or slightly increase over the next few years,” he said.

Cambodian rubber exports to China were worth an average of $1,303 per tonne last month, said Phalla.

However, Sopheak Nika Investment Agro-Industrial Plants Co Ltd director Men Sopheak said the rubber market during this period was not as strong as last year.

The current rise in rubber exports is merely due to an increase in the number of mature rubber trees, he said, which produce a larger harvest from year to year.

He said his company exported 9,505 tonnes during the period, down about 10 per cent from the same period last year.

“My company’s rubber exports have decreased due to a lack of workforce,” he said, adding that his company exports rubber to Vietnam, India, China and South Korea.

He said rubber prices at his company ranged between $1,333 and $1,350 per tonne at the beginning of the third quarter of this year, down from about $1,400 per tonne at the beginning of last year’s third quarter.

“Prices have come down due to the global economic crisis, including the trade dispute between the two superpowers, China and the US. Slowing global growth leads to slowing demand,” he said.

He believes that the rubber industry will continue to face challenges until the end of this year as buyers turn to African countries with lower prices than Asia, which could affect the Kingdom’s exports as well.

“Asian countries supplied about 80 per cent of the world’s rubber, but currently in Africa, they are growing a lot of rubber trees. They offer cheaper prices due to low production costs,” said Sopheak.

General Directorate of Rubber data shows that rubber was harvested on more than 230,000ha of land during the first nine months of this year, with total rubber tree plantations in the Kingdom measuring 434,552ha.

A Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report shows that Cambodia exported 210,000 tonnes of rubber last year, worth about $300 million.

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