Reuters: Thailand, the world’s biggest rubber producer and exporter, are calling for a meeting with major producers Indonesia and Malaysia, to seek ways to stabilise rubber prices.
“The meeting will be held on 11-12 December in Phuket,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Yuthapong Charassathien told Reuters.
The three countries agreed in August to restrict exports by about 3% of global production in an effort to prop up prices, but the move has so far had little impact.
The trio account for 70% of global natural rubber output.
The price of benchmark Thai export-grade rubber sheet (RSS3)has more than halved from a record high of $6.40 per kg in February 2011, due largely to a weaker economic outlook in the United States and Europe’s debt crisis that have cut demand. The benchmark stood at $3.05 on Thursday.
The price of unsmoked sheet (USS3), a raw material for export grade rubber sheet, which farmers sell to factories, was at 79 baht ($2.57) per kg on Thursday, also well down from a record high of 180 baht.
The price fall forced the Thai government to start an individual price supporting scheme in May, buying USS3 from farmers at higher-than-market prices to be processed into smoked rubber sheet (RSS3) and kept in stocks to push up prices.
The scheme has had a minimal impact on prices, which have fallen below the target price of 80 baht several times since late October, while farmers of complained of delayed payments from the government.