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Natural rubber exports are likely to exceed to 50,000 tonne target set by the Rubber Board for 2007-08. With Indian prices much lower than international levels 43,727 tonne of natural rubber has already been exported up 6th March, industry reports say exports may cross 56,500 tonne that was achieved last year.

Padmakumar, a senior manager with Kochi-based rubber exporter AV Thomas and Company said, since the difference between international and domestic prices is over Rs. 10, India, can easily export 60,000 tonne this year.

As on 25th March 2008, the price of the RSS4 variety of rubber is at Rs.101.75 per kg levels at Kottayam while the price of equivalent grade RSS -3 in Bangkok is at Rs.111.03 levels.

The Rubber Board had earlier projected exports of 70,000 tonne, which was lowered to 25,000 tonne as tapping was affected due to bad weather and viral fever that affected the tappers. However with improved conditions the Board revised the export target doubling it to 50,000 tonne.

Kottayam-based rubber trader Bijosh P Thomas expects the prices to be between Rs.110-115 by mid-April due to local demand from tyre companies. Even the stocks at NMCE warehouse have declined from 14,000 tonne level in January to 7,000.

However the domestic tyre manufacturers are not happy with the exports as they feel it is affecting the availability in market. Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) director general Rajiv Budhraja said growers and dealers are looking at the high prices on the Tokyo futures exchanges and they are not willing to offload their stocks. There is no rubber available at these prices in the domestic market and exports are also set to cross the target. He said production is down compare to previous year while consumption has increased and even during peak season rubber is not available.

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