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Published: February 2012
Asia has continued to dominate the world supply of natural rubber, averaging more than 90% of total world production. The three largest producing countries for natural rubber are Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Thailand is currently the largest producer (31% of the world total), with Indonesia holding the second position at 26–29%. Malaysia, which accounted for 32% of world production in 1988, shifted emphasis to other crops and nonagricultural investments and produced only 9% of the world total by 2010.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of natural rubber:
China continues to be the largest consumer of natural rubber in the world, accounting for 33% of the world consumption of natural rubber. China uses most of its natural rubber for tire manufacture.
The shift toward radial tires, which use a higher percentage of natural rubber than bias-ply tires, has resulted in an increase in natural rubber consumption over the past thirty years. Natural rubber accounted for about 30% of the total world consumption of rubber in 1981; the share increased to about 42–43% in 2010. Increased rubber consumption in the natural rubber–producing countries has also been a factor, as well as the greatly increasing demand for natural rubber in China and India.
Growth in natural rubber consumption will be highly uneven among the major regions of the world during 2010–2016. China and India, with their fast-growing automotive and tire industries, are expected to increase consumption by 6% and 5% per year, respectively, during 2010–2016. China and India will exhibit the largest and fastest growth among all nations of the world.