Malaysia continues domination of global rubber glove market

It is followed by Thailand at 16.8 %, China 6.7 % and Indonesia 5.1 %. Last year, Malaysia's export earnings from rubber gloves amounted to MYR 7.15 billion and this is expected to grow to MYR 25 billion by 2020. In the first half of this year, 72 % of Malaysia's rubber glove exports were natural rubber gloves and 28 % synthetic rubber gloves, says MREPC.

While the global rubber glove exports in terms of value dipped slightly to USD 4.1 billion last year compared with USD 4.3 billion in 2008, MREPC noted that the quantity exported during the period under review rose to 69.8 billion pairs from 63 billion previously. This indicates that the rubber gloves industry is somewhat recession-proof and not badly affected by the global economic slowdown, says MREPC.

The council expects the world demand for rubber gloves to remain robust in the short and long term despite the slow recovery in the global economies. Currently, the European Union (EU) is the world's largest importer of rubber gloves followed by the USA. MREPC says the EU has taken over the USA as the world's largest importer of rubber gloves since 2007, importing about 68 % of the total world rubber gloves production. On future trends, MREPC cited the rising demand for nitrile gloves and the increasing preference for powder-free gloves in the world major consuming markets.

Furthermore, a report by the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) at the conference said world rubber consumption was expected to post a 12 % growth to 23.7 million t from 21.1 million t last year. IRSG based the growth assumption on, among others, the tyre and vehicle sector data, crude oil forecast, synthetic rubber data, and the demand for SR and NR. By 2020, the IRSG estimates world rubber consumption to hit 31.5 million t, of which tyres would take up 19.8 million t and general rubber goods about 11.7 million t.