KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s rubber products surged to a record of RM40.96bil in 2020 due to the spike in exports of latex goods mainly medical devices such as gloves and catheters due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement on Wednesday, Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC) chief executive officer Brandon Chan said last year’s exports surged by 75.6% from 2019.
“The strong performance in exports was contributed by the spike in exports of latex goods which posted a year-on-year growth of 95.3% last year, ” he said.
The latex goods sector, which comprises mainly medical devices such as gloves and catheters, made
up 90% of the total rubber products exports in 2020. It recorded a jump of 81% recorded in 2019.
“The increase is driven by the high demand from the medical and health sectors worldwide, in the effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Rubber gloves alone made up 86% of the country’s rubber products exports. Exports revenue from the rubber gloves industry reached RM35.3bil, an increase of 103%.
“Globally, Malaysia has been supplying more than 60% of the world demand for rubber gloves and the Malaysian Rubber Council (MRC) estimates the share to expand to 68% in 2020, ” it said.
Chan said the US was the largest market for Malaysian rubber products and exports increased by 79%% from RM7.25bil in 2019 to RM12.96bil last year.
He said other key markets which increased their imports from Malaysia for the rubber products were the EU-27 by 101%, Japan (64%), United Kingdom (157%) and China (82.4%).
Given the strong performance, the overall rubber products industry contributed almost 5% to national exports in 2020.
However, he pointed out it was a challenging year for the dry rubber sector (non-latex products) as exports fell by 9.3% to RM3.98bil from RM4.39bil in 2019.
“Lower demand from various economic sectors such as automotive, industrial manufacturing, construction and mining has contributed to the decrease in the dry rubber exports. Main exports within the sector are tyres, hoses, footwear as well as plates and sheets, and these four products registered a decline of 6.9%, 28%, 7.3% and 8.9% respectively, ” he said.