In 2018, natural rubber was still in short supply globally, with a gap of around 120kt left to fill, due to China-US trade war, damage by plant diseases and insect pests and micro-economy factor. In the wake of steady growth in demand and insufficient production, the situation that supply falls short of demand will last for another five years before the gap can be narrowed.
consumes the most natural rubber in the world, or 41% of global total, but its output occupies less than 6% of the total. Critical shortage leads to heavy dependence on imports. Yet in 2018 its imports stopped rising and declined by 7.1% to 2,600kt on an annualized basis, on account of trade tensions between and and less demand from terminal markets like car and heavy truck.