PETALING JAYA: The rubber glove industry is expected to achieve higher sales and could garner better margins in the second half of this year (H2), said Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Denis Low (pic).
He said there was price pressure on rubber gloves in the first half of this year due to sluggish world economic growth, a higher minimum wage level as well as an increase in gas prices.
“The rubber glove industry would seasonally experience better sales and growth in the second half of the year.
“Even though the world economy is expected to slow down, we believe the demand for rubber gloves would continue to sustain, especially with increased awareness in countries like China and India as well as the outbreak of the Zika virus,” Low told a briefing on the 8th International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition.
For the first half of this year, the rubber glove industry recorded RM6.4bil in export revenue.
Low said Margma expected the industry to achieve RM14.3bil in export revenue this year, which would be a 8% hike from RM13.1bil in 2015.
“Malaysia’s rubber glove manufacturers have installed capacity of 230 billion pieces of gloves per year, and we expect to export a total of 133.6 billion pieces this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong urged rubber glove manufacturers to further explore their research and development (R&D) initiatives to improve efficiency as well as to diversify their products.
“I look forward to the glove industry finding effective solutions to fully automate their production, which will certainly help producers enhance their efficiency and increase competitiveness.
“I would urge industry players to further explore the possibility of value-added manufacturing activities to diversify the range of rubber glove designs, durability and purpose, among others,” he said in his keynote address, which was read on his behalf by his deputy Datuk Datu’ Nasrun Datu’ Mansur.
Malaysian rubber glove products are exported to about 195 countries and represent 56% of the global export value of US$6.26bil.
Low said rubber glove manufacturers’ plants were becoming more automated than before because of high labour costs.
“We have to really modernise our factories and equipment in order to be self-reliant and not depend on labour,” he said.