New Delhi: India’s rubber output is set to fall more than 8% in the year to March 2008 from an earlier estimate because of a viral disease that has struck workers, the head of a government body said on Monday.
But prices are unlikely to rise because reserve stocks can bridge the shortfall, Sajan Peter, chairman of the Rubber Board, said. “Production is likely to fall, but I am sure we will be able to keep a lid on prices due to impressive reserves,” Peter told Reuters in a telephone interview from Kottayam in Kerala.
Production is likely to drop to 803,000 tonnes from an earlier estimate of 874,000 tonnes, because of the outbreak of mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus in Kerala, which produces 90% of the country’s rubber output.
That will be sharply lower than the 2006-07 output of 853,000 tonnes, as the illness has slowed down tapping.
K.T. Thomas, president of the All India Rubber Industries Association, said this month that if prices rise too far, then locally produced rubber risks losing out to imports.