Vipin V. Nair

Kochi, Nov. 25

BUOYED by encouraging trends, the Rubber Board has scaled up its targets for natural rubber exports by 5,000 tonnes to 45,000 tonnes during the current fiscal year.

"We have already touched 37,723 tonnes of exports. In the coming months, we will easily achieve the new target," a Rubber Board official said.

The new projections were arrived at a meeting of the Statistics and Import/Export Committee of the Rubber Board.

As against the exports of 37,723 tonnes so far this fiscal, exports during the same period a year ago was 30,792 tonnes.

The official said there was good demand for latex. "Till October, we have exported 10,872 tonnes of latex," he said.

The Rubber Board had earlier projected exports of 40,000 tonnes for the current fiscal.

Natural rubber exports touched a record 75,905 tonnes in 2003-04. However, in 2004-05 they fell to 46,169 tonnes as the Government halved export incentives.

There are no incentives for exports in the current financial year, but widening difference between the Indian and international prices have given room for more exports from India.

Currently, domestic natural rubber is ruling at least Rs 8-9 a kg lower than international prices.

While the Rubber Board increased its export targets, it lowered projections on imports by 5,000 tonnes to 55,000 tonnes. Apart from higher international prices, onset of peak tapping season in the country would encourage consumers to buy more rubber locally, the official said.

The Committee also raises its rubber consumption projection, based on strong growth in tyre production and exports. The new consumption estimate for the year is 7.99 lakh tonnes, up from 7.92 lakh tonnes.

The board has left the production target unchanged at 7.8 lakh tonnes.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 26, 2005)
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