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Export curbs fail to lift natural rubber prices

2/12/2018 Updated 2/12/2018


By Shahrzad Pourriahi
European Rubber Journal

LONDON—Moves to curb natural rubber exports by the main producing countries seem to have had little positive impact on prices for the commodity, so far at least.

Indeed, prices showed signs of weakening and even retreat during January, according to European Rubber Journal’s latest analysis of NR trading markets in the Far East. This was despite the well-publicized plan by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to jointly cut their NR exports by 350,000 metric tons during the first three months of 2018.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, prices for RU1805—the most heavily traded NR future—stood at $2,081 per metric ton on Jan. 31. This was almost 7 percent lower than the $2,238 per ton closing price recorded at the end of 2017.

Behind the January figures was a sharp reversal of an improvement on Chinese prices during the first half of the month: prices having reached $2,291 per ton on Jan. 15.

In Tokyo, meanwhile, TOCOM back-month prices for RSS3 materials showed a steady decline, closing at $32.38 per kilogram on Jan. 24, compared to 206.7/kg on Dec. 29.

There was more positive news from Bangkok, where spot prices for RSS1 grades stood at $172.30/100kg on Jan. 31. This was up 5.5 percent above the Dec. 14 closing price of $163.25/100kg.

Similarly, with a 5.6 percent increase, RSS3 grades closed at $168.65 at the end of January, against 159.70/100kg on Dec. 14.

However, there was again a mid-month peak: prices on the Thai exchange reaching $177.75/100kg for RSS1 and $174.15/100kg for RSS3 on Jan. 18

In Kuala Lumpur, prices for SMR-20 were up 4.6 percent at $152.00/100kg on Jan. 30, compared to $145.25/100kg on Dec. 29.

Prices in Malaysia had risen to $155.10/100kg by Jan. 22 before easing back towards the end of the month.

Latex spot prices in KL on 30 Jan also showed a mild improvement at $117.85/kg, up 1.9 percent compared to 115.60/kg on Dec. 29.

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