UPDATE 1-India April-May synthetic rubber output up 3.2 pct

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MUMBAI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - India’s synthetic rubber production rose 3.2 percent in April-May, but rising demand from auto tyre makers led to higher imports, the Rubber Board said.

Total synthetic rubber output was 16,997 tonnes during the period, compared with 16,475 tonnes a year ago, it said in a statement on Monday.

Consumption in first two months of fiscal 2008/09 rose 6.7 percent to 49,275 tonnes, while demand from the automotive tyre sector increased 9.2 percent to 32,468 tonnes.

Tyre makers account for more than 60 percent of the domestic consumption.

Higher consumption and non-availability of some variety of synthetic rubber led to more imports, which jumped 26.7 percent to 37,495 tonnes, the Rubber Board said.

Synthetic rubber production is dominated by a clutch of players like 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 entirely imports its butyl and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) requirements.

The country’s consumption in 2007/08 stood at 297,155 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)