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Anomaly in Rubber Board’s stock calculation a worry: Trade bodies


KOCHI: Disturbed by the anomaly in August 2014 data on the country’s natural rubber (NR) stock published by the Rubber Board, tyre and rubber trade bodies have written to the Union ministry of commerce, saying this discrepancy will have significant consequences for all stakeholders.

The Rubber Board’s stock figures represent the country’s existing NR stock and is arrived at by deducting offtake, which is consumption and export, from availability, which is production and imports.

In its letter to additional secretary, plantations at the department of commerce, who is also the chairman of the expert committee formed to draft a national rubber policy, the industry bodies pointed out that the August 2014 NR data shows a discrepancy of roughly one lakh tonnes.

Based on the opening stock of NR in April this year and factoring the key parameters of production, consumption, imports and exports, the closing stock should have been 2.85 lakh tonnes at the end of August this year. However, the figures published by the Board was 1.85 lakh tonnes. In effect, 1 lakh tonnes have been ‘adjusted’ without any explanation, said Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA) and All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA).

“Since import and export figures are fairly accurate, either the production has been over estimated or the consumption has been under estimated or a combination of both”, said Rajiv Budhraja, director general of ATMA.

The trade bodies are also planning to raise the issue at the second meeting of the expert committee to formulate national policy in Kochi later this week.

`Decide whether to cut rubber trees down’

Rubber farmers in the country should decide whether to cut their rubber trees down or continue being happy with lower income as prices are expected to go up only by 2025, said Hidde Smit, former secretary general of Singapore-based International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). Smit, who was credited with the prediction of the current fall in natural rubber prices, was talking on the sidelines of India Rubber Summit, held in Kochi last week. “India is not to blame for the oversupply; it is coming from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos,“ he stated.According to him, a recovery from the global economic downturn won’t help rubber prices to climb back.“On average the consumption growth is 4% per annum, while the supply potential will grow by 6% for 4-5 years. So, by 2025, it must be a lot better,“ he said.

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