In 2018, the global natural rubber industry continued remained at low ebb, as a result of economic fundamentals. Global natural rubber price presented a choppy downtrend and repeatedly hit a record low in recent two years, in spite of an uptick in the middle of 2018, which was not enough to invigorate the sluggish industry. By the end of 2018, the market still hovered at the bottom and showed no signs of recovery. In 2019, global natural rubber prices will go on setting all-time lows until 2020 or 2021 when the price may level off and pick up.
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 the 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.
The global top six natural rubber producers including Sri Trang Agro-Industry, Vonbundit, Thai Hua Rubber Public, Thai Rubber Latex Corporation () Public Co, Ltd. (TRUBB), Southland Rubber and Sinochem International Corporation, sit in the Southeast Asian countries such as and , because of climate and so forth. Among them, Sri Trang Agro-Industry is the largest player commanding roughly 12% of the global market.