UPDATE 1-India synthetic rubber output lags demand, imports up

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MUMBAI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - India’s synthetic rubber production rose 2.1 percent in the first four months of 2008/09, far short of demand that saw imports jump 28.1 percent in the same period, the Rubber Board said on Monday.

Total synthetic rubber output was 33,439 tonnes in April-July, against 32,748 tonnes a year ago, it said in a statement.

Consumption in the period rose 6.8 percent to 100,045 tonnes, while demand from the automotive tyre sector increased 8.3 percent. Consequently, imports jumped to 76,890 tonnes.

Imports are likely to remain higher as there won’t be any substantial increase in production, said Rajiv Budhraja, director general of Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association.

In India, synthetic rubber production is dominated by Reliance Industries Ltd RELI.BO and Apar Industries Ltd APAR.BO.

Reliance produces about 73,000 tonnes of polybutadiene (PBR) variety annually, whereas Apar produces about 23,600 tonnes of nitrile rubber. India imports its butyl and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) requirements.

Total stocks at the end of July stood at 36,505 tonnes.

Natural rubber is tapped from trees, while synthetic rubber is man-made and produced from petroleum products. (Reporting by Debiprasad Nayak, editing by Harish Nambiar)