BANGKOK: Thailand, the world’s biggest producer and exporter of rubber, expects to sell 96,000 tons of the commodity from state stockpiles, an official at its rubber authority told Reuters on Wednesday. The sale is expected to fetch the government more than 6.84 billion baht ($195.43 million), the official at the Rubber Authority of Thailand said.
“We’ll hold another auction in March, where the remaining 125,000 tonnes of rubber should all be sold,” the official said.
News of the auction comes after flash floods hit its southern provinces, the main rubber-growing region, killing 99 people since December and swamping plantations at the height of the tapping season. Global rubber prices soared to five-year highs on Jan. 31 on worries over supply following the floods in Thailand, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the world’s natural rubber, used mainly in car tires.
Thai rubber exporters have said they had enough of the commodity in stockpiles to ensure only minimal disruption to scheduled shipments. Thailand’s military government started buying rubber from farmers and building stockpiles as prices started declining in 2014.