THAILAND: B120 floor sought for rubber prices

Businesses are asking the government to find ways to keep rubber sheet prices from falling below 120 baht a kilogramme after a sharp fall in prices over the past three weeks.

Rubber sheet was quoted at 150 baht a kilogramme FOB on 14 Mar. 2011 in Bangkok, down from a peak of 198.55 baht on 21 Feb. In Songkhla, raw rubber sheet prices were 95 baht per kg and smoked rubber sheet 105 baht.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, the chairman of the Natural Rubber Policy Committee, said recent prices of 180-190 baht per kilogramme were too high and would only encourage the use of more petroleum-based synthetic rubber.

Phongsak Vongbundit, honorary president of the Thai Rubber Association, said the Bank of Thailand should work with commercial banks to increase credit lines to traders so they could buy rubber at low prices and delay exports until prices revive.

He said planters should not sell at below 120 baht as global demand was still higher than the supply.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)