Indonesian rubber producers do not welcome the government's decision to open the nation's crumb rubber sector to foreign ownership for the full 100 percent. This decision is part of the government's tenth economic stimulus package, announced last week. Stakeholders in Indonesia's rubber sector argue that current installed production capacity of existing rubber processing plants in Indonesia already exceeds domestic demand. Crumb rubber is recycled rubber produced from automotive as well as truck scrap tires.
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Indonesia, the world's second-largest natural rubber producer, is expected to see slowing rubber output in 2016 on the back of the El Nino weather phenomenon as well as haze caused by forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan. Although the production decline may support rubber prices in the middle-long term, Indonesian rubber farmers are currently still plagued by rubber prices that have fallen to six-year lows due to reduced rubber demand from China, the world's largest rubber importer.
Indonesia’s export of natural rubber is forecast to reach 2.58 million tons in 2015, roughly similar to this year’s expected export performance but a 10 percent decline from the country’s rubber export in 2013. This year, local rubber companies have been negatively affected by sluggish global demand triggering international rubber prices touching three-year lows. Rubber production in Indonesia in 2014 is expected to reach 3.5 million tons, of which 90 percent is exported abroad (mostly to the USA, Japan, China, India and Brazil).
Ahead of the World Rubber Summit 2014 (held between 19 and 21 May in Singapore), Asril Sutan Amir, adviser to the Indonesian Rubber Association (GAPKINDO), said that Indonesian rubber output may decline by three percent or 100,000 metric tons (Mt) to 3 million Mt in 2014 due to the impact of this year's possible new El Nino cycle. An extended dry season will lead to damaged rubber trees and thus less production. Indonesia is currently the world's second-largest rubber producer after Thailand.
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