Rubber exports in the first three months of this year declined sharply as a result of tightened measures at border checkpoints to prevent the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease, plantation owners and exporters have said.
Long Sreng International Co Ltd general manager Heng Sreng told The Post on Monday that his company exported a very small amount of rubber in the first three months of the year due to restrictions on the Cambodian border with Vietnam.
Long Sreng International owns the Boeung Ket Rubber Plantation in Stung Trang district’s Prek Kak commune in Kampong Cham province.
Over the past three months, the company has exported 50 tonnes of rubber to the international market, down from the year-ago figures of between 250 and 300 tonnes, he said.
“Covid-19 will continue to affect rubber exports as long as restrictions on the Cambodian border with Vietnam remain in place,” said Sreng.
Men Sopheak, the owner and director of Sopheak Nika Investment Agro-Industrial Plants Co Ltd, a leading rubber grower and exporter that employs nearly 5,000 workers, told The Post on Thursday that the outbreak brought exports to nil last month.
In contrast, he said, the company had exported about 1,000 tonnes of rubber to the Chinese market in the first two months of this year, a small drop from the same period last year.
Rubber prices have dropped from $1,300 to $1,100 per tonne, he said, adding that rubber prices will continue to decline until the end of the year.
“We anticipate the price of rubber could be adversely affected by the Covid-19 disease as it hammers economies in rubber processors such as China, the US and Europe. Demand for rubber products and rubber processing needs has already slowed down.
“Given the global economic crisis, I think the price will not improve in the next three to four months so it will affect the company’s revenue and profit due to lower market prices and a drop in daily sales,” said Sopheak.
A representative of Rithmony Samnang Leap Co Ltd, a local and international latex supplier, who asked to remain anonymous, said the company had failed to export rubber abroad since restrictions were placed on the Cambodia-Vietnamese border.
“I cannot export rubber, nobody dares to move, no buyers appear and moreover the border checkpoints are closed now,” he said.
Cambodia exported 282,071 tonnes of rubber worth $377 million last year, up 30 per cent from 2018, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data shows.
The data shows a total of 406,142ha of rubber plantations in the Kingdom, of which more than 247,114ha were harvested.
Latex prices will continue to decline until next year, said a report by Research and Markets. China is the world’s largest rubber consumer, accounting for 41 per cent of global total output.