Top natural rubber producers consider more export curbs -ITRC

JAKARTA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC), which includes top producers Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, is considering another export curb to help stabilise rubber prices, the group said in a statement on Thursday.

The Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS), will “anticipate any unfavourable market conditions in the future” the group said after a meeting in Jakarta.

The ITRC reduced exports by 441,648 tonnes under the AETS earlier this year, more than the targeted cut of 240,000 tonnes.

Indonesia Rubber Association Chairman Moenarji Soedargo said the extension of AETS was not discussed in an August meeting of the group because output was expected to decline as a disease hit rubber plantations in parts of Indonesia.

The ITRC said 2019 rubber production was expected to fall by 800,000 tonnes due to an outbreak of the Pestalotiopsis fungal disease, erratic weather conditions and sluggish tapping activities after a prolonged spell of low prices.

The fungal disease has affected 380,000 hectares (939,000 acres) of rubber plantation in Indonesia, 52,000 hectares in Thailand and 5,000 hectares in Malaysia, according to Thursday’s statement.

In the worst cases, the disease can reduce production by 70% to 90%, the ITRC said. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)