India produced during the fiscal a total of 7,49,665 tonnes of NR in the following grades and volumes: sheet rubber 71%, block rubber 11%, latex 10%, crepe 1% and Others 7%.
And, India continued to be a net importer, what with total consumption exceeding domestic production, the former being 755,405 tonnes a gap of slightly less than 6000 tonnes. And this does not even take into account synthetic rubber imports or what little domestic production of SR is there.
But the import-export patterns are a totally different proposition altogether, with NR imports accounting for 68,718 tonnes and exports 46,169 tonnes.
A good chunk of the exports were headed for China and Sri Lanka (16,485 and 10,246 tonnes respectively). Malaysia accounted for 4,388 tonnes of Indian NR exports, while Germany took 2,559 tonnes. Others accounted for the rest (12,271 tonnes).
In consumption also, there were some obvious patterns. Going by the grades of NR used by the various manufacturing sectors, the tyre industry used 302,141 tonnes of sheet (which makes up 74% of the Indian tyre industry’s total natural rubber uptake, and 91,609 tonnes of block rubber (crumb).
Of the 78,795 tonnes of latex produced in the country, the non-tyre industry (NTI) used 71,880 tonnes in 2004-05. Of course, the NTI consumed as much as 217,714 tonnes of sheet rubber (that is, 62% of NTI’s total NR offtake). The NTI also had its share of block rubber consumption, accounting for 25,521 tonnes of that grade. This segment also used 218 tonnes of crepe as against a mere 23 tonnes by the tyre sector.
As for NR exports, not in itself significant by global standards, sheet accounted by far for the most 24,047 tonnes (which made up 52% of the total NR shipments from India).
As much as 11,558 tonnes of block rubber was also exported during this period, while latex shipments to other countries totaled 10,496 tonnes. Thus, for block rubber and latex the export figures for the year under study were 25% and 23% of the total Indian NR shipments respectively.
But with natural rubber imports totaling 68,718 tonnes, India was stuck with its rather dubious status as a net NR importer in spite of having the highest productivity and the fourth largest production in the world.
To sum up, of the total domestic NR production of 749,665 tonnes, the tyre sector used 406,226 tonnes (but how much of this consumption is made up of imports, however small, is not accurately known). This is because the total Indian consumption of natural rubber came to 755,405 tonnes, which is marginally higher than the total local NR production. As for 2005-08, NR production is expected to go up 4% to 780,000 tonnes, with the tyre industry projected to consume 8% (for the last quarter of the fiscal) more than in 2004-05. A 2% rise in offtake is predicted for the non-tyre sector also.
On the export-import front, there has been a mixed trend for all the financial years since 2000-01.