Malaysian rubber glove group says demand to oustrip supply until 2023

FILE PHOTO: Newly-made gloves are pictured inside Top Glove factory in Shah Alam, Malaysia August 26, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia, the world’s biggest rubber gloves manufacturer, is racing to increase production to close a supply gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic that it warns could last until into 2023.

The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) said on Monday the country was in an oversold position of 160 billion gloves.

“The lead time currently is about seven months for the gloves to be delivered to the end customer,” Margma President Supramaniam Shanmugam said, adding that demand would remain robust until the second quarter of 2022.

Even with global production expected to ramp up to 420 billion this year from 380 billion last year and annual growth of 10-15%, Supramaniam said excess demand could run into 2023. Malaysia expects to supply 280 billion, or 67%, of that increased global supply.

Malaysia’s gloves export earnings more than doubled in 2020, rising 103% to 35.3 billion ringgit ($8.6 billion), Margma said, forecasting that would rise to 38 billion ringgit this year.

Supramaniam said Malaysian manufacturers were addressing concerns about social compliance in the domestic industry.

Top Glove Corp is in the midst of resolving an import ban placed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last July on allegations of forced labour.

Supramaniam said Margma was periodically in touch with the U.S. CBP and the European Union “to ensure they know we are on the right path in terms of ensuring all that’s needed in fulfilling the requirements of the social compliance.”

($1 = 4.1170 ringgit)

Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue and Jane Wardell