India's Natural Rubber production is likely to be 1 lakh tonnes short of the Rubber Board projected figure of 8 lakh tonnes for 2017-18 even as the consumption is set to reach a new peak.
For 11 months to February 2018, the production clocked 6.49 lakh tonnes, just 2% higher from a year earlier. At the same time the consumption for the period has already crossed 1 million tonnes at 1,003,060 tonnes.
In 2016-17 the output stood at 6.91 lakh tonnes and the consumption at 1,044,075 tonnes.
Rubber import has been increasing in the last three years in tandem with the decline in production. The highest import at 458,374 tonnes happened in 2015-16 when the output plunged to 5.62 lakh tonnes, the lowest in the recent times.
This fiscal, till February, the imports are up by nearly 5% at 418,944 tonnes from a year ago. It is expected to reach near 4.50 lakh tonnes for the year.
The prices have remained in the range of Rs 120 to 130 per kg for most of the months. The RSS-4 variety used by the tyre industry ruled at Rs 122 per kg on Saturday, Rs 11 higher than the international price for the similar variety.