India's natural rubber imports rose by close to 35% for the nine months to December 2018 from a year ago at 4,49,088 tonnes, according to latest data from the state run Rubber Board. In 2017-18, rubber import stood at 4,69,760 tonnes.
Natural rubber production for the period showed over an 8.5% decline at 4,79,000 tonnes. Even for the usual peak production month of December, it was down by 8,000 tonnes from a year ago at 78,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, rubber consumption has been going up consistently. For the nine-month period, it rose 13% to 9,21,600 tonnes, well on its way to 1.2 million tonnes targeted by the board.
The production in the remaining three months is expected to be lower as the lean tapping season has begun. Usually, tapping comes to an end by January. But this time, some places, which began tapping late, are still continuing though the yield is less.