Saturday, 08 August 2020 16:23

Rubber industry raises head above COVID -19 troubled waters

Sri Lanka’s rubber-based product sector has been able to sustain in the COVID-19 period as the pandemic has created additional demand for natural rubber in the manufacture of gloves, solid tyres and other rubber-based health care products.

This newly generated demand is helping the rubber consumption sector by almost offsetting the drop in demand for natural rubber from the auto-tyre manufacturing sector, an assessment made by the industry revealed.

Local glove manufacturers have sold their stocks and there was new demand for solid tyres in construction and logistics sectors.

Export Development Board Chairman Prabash Subasinghe said that almost all factories engaged in rubber and rubber based product exports have resumed their production process.

Some of those factories re-started their production from mid- April with less than 50 per cent capacity and it has been able to sustain during the pandemic period, he said adding that most of those factories are now operating at full capacity.

The large scale solid tyre manufacturers have possessed their own distribution network and they have continued to meet the requirements of overseas orders, he disclosed.

Manufacturers of solid tyres including, supply material handling truck tyres (such as forklifts), construction tyres and agricultural tyres and other rubber based products are surviving at present and they will regain momentum in the near future, he added.

Finished rubber product exports increased by 33.64 per cent in June compared to May 2020.This is mainly due to increase of gloves and tyre exports, Export Development statistics showed.

Glove exports increased by 17.18 per cent as a result of increased demand for medical gloves (including Nitrile glove which is a medical disposable glove) due to the pandemic and also as some orders which were not shipped during March- April 2020 has been shipped in June.

Further, tyres, specially pneumatic tyres and solid tyres also increased by 41.25 per cent due to some countries (mainly European countries) increasing their buffer stock level due to the pandemic issue and some orders which were not shipped during the months of March- April being shipped in June, EDB data showed.



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