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Tireworld Insight: Price disparity severe between China's rubber exports and imports

The price disparity between China’s imports and exports of rubber products has grown significant, Xu Wenying, deputy head and secretary general of China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA), told Tireworld at a recent industrial event held in the coastal city of Qingdao.

In 2013, China’s exports of rubber and rubber products surged 10.4 percent year on year to hit 6.7 million tonnes, with the value totaling 23.1 billion US dollars, up 4.4 percent from 2012.

Market observers noted that the difference between the annual growth rates in volume and value demonstrated that the average export price was actually on the decline in the past year.

Specifically, China’s tire exports in 2013 stood at 4.99 million tonnes, up 13.3 percent from that logged in 2012, accounting for 74.5 percent of the total rubber product exports of the country.

Vulcanized rubber, which took the second place in China’s rubber exports, grew 6 percent year on year in delivery to overseas markets in 2013.

As for imports, China imported 5.94 million tonnes of rubber products in 2013, up 12 percent year on year, while the value of the rubber imports fell in 2013, at about 20 billion US dollars.

Market observers noted that the reason behind this phenomenon was that China has been largely dependent on raw material imports.

In 2013, natural rubber, mixed rubber, and synthetic rubber accounted for 93 percent of the country’s total rubber imports in the year.

Meanwhile, prices of imported rubber products, high-end rubber products for medical use in particular, have been severely higher than the prices of exported rubber goods. The imported tire products, for example, were at least 50,000 yuan per tonne, far higher than that of low value-added domestically produced ones delivered to foreign markets, market observers say.

The following table shows prices of major rubber products imported and exported by China in 2013.