UPDATE 1-India April-July rubber output rises 30.4 pct

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MUMBAI, Aug. 4 (Reuters) - India’s natural rubber production rose 30.4 percent in the first four months of 2008/09 due to higher tapping, a senior official of the Rubber Board said on Monday.

Total output in April-July was 238,865 tonnes, compared with 183,220 tonnes a year ago, the official, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters.

“Rising demand from tyre companies and better prices have prompted rubber growers for higher tapping,” said the official.

According to Rubber Board official, tapping should be done on every alternate day, but growers are now tapping every day to get more latex as they are getting record prices.

Natural rubber price has risen about 37 percent in the last four months, according to data available with the Rubber Board.

It touched an all-time high of 14,150 rupees per 100 kg on August 1.

Increased production has slowed down imports, which fell 18.3 percent to 23,138 tonnes from 28,315 tonnes during the period, while exports jumped 62 percent to 23,998 tonnes from 14,816 tonnes, he said.

The country’s natural rubber production in 2008/09 is likely to rise 6 percent to 875,000 tonnes from 825,000 tonnes a year ago, on better price realisation.

Total stocks at the end of July stood at 113,000 tonnes.

India is the world’s fourth largest rubber producer. (Reporting by Debiprasad Nayak, editing by Prem Udayabhanu)