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U.S. spurs consumption increase.

A 14% increase in elastomer consumption by the U.S. pushed worldwide figures for 1992 past 1991 numbers, the first yearly rise since 1989. The increase in U.S. consumption from 2.5 million metric tons in 1991 to almost 2.9 mmt last year more than offset sluggish results globally. Worldwide rubber consumption in 1992 was 14.6 mmt up slightly from the 14.3 mmt the previous year according to figures from the International Rubber Study Group. Elastomer consumption was 15.3 mmt worldwide in 1989.

The U.S., China and the Republic of Korea were the only three of the top consuming countries to show an increase in 1992. Worldwide natural rubber production increased 3.8% in 1992 according to figures from the Malaysian Rubber Bureau. Estimated production figures for 1992 show peg production at a little more than 5.5 billion metric tons, approximately 200,000 tons above 1991 figures.

Thailand remained the world's largest producer and also showed the largest percentage increase in production. Thailand increased production 9.6% to 1.48 million tons. Indonesia again was second at 1.38 million tons, a 4% increase over 1991.

Malaysia and Sri Lanka recorded declines for the year. Malaysia posted its fourth straight decline in production. Malaysia's 1992 production is estimated at 1.21 million tons, a 3% decline from 1991 and more than 4 million tons below the record year of 1988. Factors cited by the MRB for the decline include continued low prices and accelerated replanting which reduced the total mature hectarage.

Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia accounted for over four billion tons in 1992, representing 73% of the world's total NR in 1992.

The U.S. also pushed synthetic rubber production figures over the previous year. Worldwide production increased slightly in 1992 to 9.2 mmt from 9.1 mmt in 1991. It was the first increase since 1988. The U.S. increased production from 2.05 mmt to 2.35 mmt.

Slight increases in production were posted by many countries while production declines were registered by the Commonwealth of Independent States and Germany.
 Synthetic rubber production
 1992 1991
U.S.A. 2,350 2,050
C.I.S. 1,700 1,950
Japan 1,388 1,377
France 500 470
Germany 491 536
China 371 334
Italy 308 305
Brazil 256 253
U.K. 253 251
Netherlands 233 230
source: IRSG "000 m tons
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Publication:Rubber World
Date:Aug 1, 1993
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