No! Rank is now the issue. Its about the product itself, latex and rubber.
A report by Bloomberg yesterday said our rubber lifeline was boosted by higher demand in the production of rubber condoms and gloves.
Aren't we also producing other rubber-based products like tyres, plastic, foam, etc?
On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the Malaysian Rubber Board sellers' official physical price for tyre-grade SMR 20 rose 13 sen to 848 sen per kg, while latex-in-bulk added 5.5 sen to 560.5 sen per kg.Natural rubber prices had received some support over the past couple of months as Thailand introduced a government-backed deal to purchase 300,000 tonnes of Thai rubber at above-market rates in an effort to support farmers' incomes.
The unofficial sellers' closing price for tyre-grade SMR 20 increased 9.5 sen to 849.5 sen per kg and latex-in-bulk gained 5.5 sen to 563.5 sen per kg.
Prices in Thailand and Malaysia also received support after it was announced that the top three natural rubber producing countries (Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia) had made plans to cut production and natural rubber exports in an attempt to reverse recent price falls.
These countries are aiming to cut exports by 300,000 tonnes year-on-year in the six months to March 2013. In addition, they plan to reduce production by accelerating the felling of around 100,000 hectares of aging rubber trees over this period. If realised, this may lower exports by a further 150,000 tonnes
Rubber is a major part of many industries. Although synthetic rubber (oil derivatives) gets popular, natural rubber is still very much in demand, especially in tyre manufacturing.
I am not so sure if condom industry is providing a new lifeline to our production or as to whether we are the world's largest producer of such a product.
Whatever it is, we have been surviving on rubber exports long before Merdeka and until the present day. We should continue listing it as one of our priorities.