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Cambodia’s Rubber Exports Soar, Earns $790 Million in 2023

by Surya Narayan
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Cambodia has seen a significant increase in its rubber exports, with earnings reaching $789.75 million in the January to November period of 2023, according to the latest trade data from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE). This marks a remarkable growth of 74.5 percent compared to the same period in the previous year when Cambodia earned $452.65 million from rubber exports.

The data also revealed that in November 2023 alone, Cambodia earned $114 million from rubber exports, demonstrating a notable increase of 103.9 percent year-on-year.

The rising trend of Cambodia’s rubber exports, which began in the latter half of 2022, has continued and remained strong throughout the January to November period of 2023. This surge in rubber exports is particularly noteworthy as Cambodia’s overall total exports only showed a modest growth of 1.2 percent during this period, largely due to a slowdown in the export of garments, footwear, and travel (GFT) goods.

In 2022, Cambodia earned $541.66 million from the export of rubber and rubber articles, recording a growth of 28.3 percent compared to the previous year. The main markets for Cambodian rubber include China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and the EU.

To further boost rubber exports amidst declining prices, the Royal Government of Cambodia has announced tax incentives. Starting from January 1, 2024, no tariffs will be collected for rubber exports if the price of natural rubber falls below $1,600 per tonne. This tariff structure will be in effect for two years. The government’s decision to implement these incentives was made in response to a request from the private sector during the Government Private Sector Forum in November.

The average price of a tonne of dry rubber in Cambodia during the first nine months of 2023 was $1,323, which is $196 lower than the same period last year, according to the General Directorate of Rubber in the country.

Thailand remained the largest producer of natural rubber in November 2023, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam, China, India, Malaysia, and Cambodia, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC). China continued to be the biggest consumer of natural rubber, followed by India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The global natural rubber market was projected to reach 14.693 million tonnes for production in 2023, with consumption estimated at 14.738 million tonnes. However, factors such as inflationary pressures, geopolitical tensions, and fluctuations in the global crude oil market are expected to impact the rubber industry, including the price of natural rubber.

Heng Guan, Secretary-General of ANRPC, emphasized in a previous report that concerns about stubborn inflation and a projected slowdown in the global economy continue to affect the industry. Additionally, the protracted Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and high borrowing costs in various parts of the world due to interest rate hikes and tighter monetary control policies also contribute to the challenges faced by the sector.

In Cambodia, rubber trees are cultivated across a total area of 404,578 hectares, with approximately 78 percent of the trees, covering 315,332 hectares, being old enough for tapping.

Source: Khmer Times

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