11 May 1999
Malaysia buys rubber to boost prices

THE Malaysian government starts a rubber-purchasing scheme this week in a bid to shield its 400,000 small growers from poor prices.

The decision breaks 20 years of non-intervention by the Malaysian state in the market.

It is a response to the failure of the International Natural Rubber Organisation (INRO) to lift rubber prices.

Malaysia, which is the worlds third largest rubber producer after Thailand and Indonesia, is withdrawing from the consumer-producer group in October.

The Malaysian scheme is expected to lift farmgate prices, at 35-60¢/kg, by between 20% and 30%.