30 March 1999
Malaysia to stockpile rubber

MALAYSIA is to withhold its rubber from the export market as part of a plan to bolster prices in the sector.

Other measures to relieve the countrys ailing rubber industry could include the purchase at higher prices of locally produced product and a temporary ban on natural rubber imports.

Asias economic crisis has cut demand for rubber and analysts expect consumption to stay depressed at least until next year.

Asia accounts for about a third of the consumption of natural rubber.

Malaysia is the worlds third largest rubber producer, after Indonesia and Thailand.