Cambodia exported 132,174 tonnes of natural rubber worth $221.67 million in the first half of this year, up by 7.18 per cent and 38.12 per cent year-on-year in volume and value, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon.
The average selling price of rubber in the first half was $1,677 per tonne, up $374 or 28.72 per cent year-on-year, the minister said.
The going-rate for rubber from smallholder farmers is currently in the range of 5,850-6,500 riel ($1.44-$1.60) per kilogramme for 100 per cent dry rubber content (DRC 100%) latex, up by 209 riel month-on-month, and 2,500-3,300 riel for lump latex (DRC 50%), up by 169 riel on a monthly basis, he added.
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director-general for Rubber Him Aun told The Post on July 4 that Covid-19 vaccination campaigns and gradual economic recoveries around the world have significantly boosted global demand for rubber since the end of last year.
He said this increase in demand is a “positive sign” that has pushed up rubber prices in Cambodia, which, he noted, are entirely dependent on international markets.
“The reopening of factories around the world has increased the demand and price of rubber in Cambodia since the end of 2020. With this, the amount of rubber in cultivation in Cambodia is also on the rise,” he said.
According to Aun, Cambodian rubber is currently exported to Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Japan, and small quantities are shipped to the EU market.
And investors seeking remunerative opportunities are not blind to the Kingdom’s burgeoning rubber industry.
A handful of plans for tyre factories looking to capitalise on the growing supply of domestic rubber were recently given the go-ahead by the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
Concerning these projects, Aun said: “We have wanted this for a long time because they will help drive up domestic rubber prices, help add value to local products and create new jobs.
“All of these points are also goals of the Cambodian government,” he said.
Men Sopheak, CEO of rubber grower and exporter Sopheak Nika Investment Agro-Industrial Plants Co Ltd, stressed that fluctuations in international demand have immediate effects on Cambodian rubber prices, due to the market’s high degree of dependence on external forces.
He said the market had traditionally been weak due to a lack of local processing.
“The current rise in rubber prices is due to the reopening of more factories and industries in emerging economies, especially China,” Sopheak said.
Total rubber cultivation in Cambodia is currently 404,160ha, of which 292,500ha or 72 per cent are mature trees that are tapped for latex, according to the ministry.