CAMBODIA: Kingdom feels drop in Asian rubber prices

Future prices dipped 3.9 % to $2,550 per tonne last week on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, about 23 % lower than this year's peak in February. Shanghai's rubber prices also declined about 3 %.

Men Sopheak, deputy director-general of the Chop Rubber Plantation, a large rubber exporter in Cambodia, told local press reporters that movements on the international stage are being felt in his own backyard. Normally he sells rubber for $2,600 per tonne. The price dropped to $2,570 on 5 June 2013.

"We saw the decreasing trend of the rubber price in the international market, and that could affect the local Cambodia market as well”, said Sopheak, who has customers abroad in Malaysia, China and European countries.

Government officials, however, chalked up the decline to a seasonal dip that did not pose a huge threat to the local market over the long term.

Ly Phalla, director general of the Rubber Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that the price change would not put a dent in the aimed-for goal of an annual 25 % increase in rubber exports from Cambodia.

"Our export [of rubber] increases at a steady pace, and we have been supplying to China, Japan and even other exporters, such as Vietnam”, he said.

In late April, it was reported that new countries entering the market resulted in a decline in prices.

But Phalla said that authorities were confident in the local market's ability to stay competitive amid the more crowded sector.

Source: Daily "The Phom Penh Post", Phom Penh; 6 June 2013

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)