21 August 1998
Rubber producers seek price support
THE worlds leading rubber exporters, led by Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, are poised to announce new support measures to lift the price of natural rubber. The move comes after a fall of 30% in dollar terms in the price of rubber over the last year.
But there is a dispute about whether the measures should be implemented within the framework of the International Natural Rubber Organisation (Inro).
Inro is supposed to engage in price support operations at levels set in local currencies. It has been slow to do so. The three major producers claim the regions devaluation means the intervention price is too low even when Inro does take action.
At a meeting of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, officials began to evolve measures that they hope will boost rubber prices but they remain undecided about Inros role in the operation.
One participant suggested raising the intervention price and the amount of buffer stock. Inro would be asked to implement these measures under the threat that the largest of the exporters would withdraw if it failed to act.
There are other measures such as a regional rubber exchange and voluntary supply rationalisation that could be put into place outside of Inro.