The second year of COVID-19 pandemic illustrated improved performance in rubber and rubber product sectors with the total export reached a record high of RM71 billion, increased by 46.3% compared to RM48.5 billion in 2020.
In 2021, latex goods contributed 91.8% to the total rubber products exports with rubber gloves remain the leader of the pack, contributing to 88.9% to the total rubber products export at RM54.8 billon, an increase of 55.4% over the same period in 2020 at RM35.3 billion.
This is followed by Industrial Rubber Goods (IRG), an increase of 40.7% amounting to RM1.3 billion compared to the same period in 2020 at RM0.9 billion. Export of tyres showed an increase of 30.7% at RM1.7 billion, compared to RM1.3 billion in 2020, while Footwear and General Rubber Goods recorded an increase of 19.6% and 13% respectively.
Other latex (non-gloves) products indicated lower growth at 7.3% as strong expansion in latex thread (47.4%) are offset by contractions in catheters, condoms, and foam products.
Mature Market, New Opportunities
The United States, Europe, and Japan dominated the consumption market of rubber products, accounting for about 50%. Last year, the United States imported RM22.8 billion worth of Malaysian rubber products, an increase of 76.5%. Germany imports amounting to RM3.79 billion (57.9%), Japan RM3.2 billion (40.5%), Netherlands at RM1.76 billion (57%) and Italy at RM1.2 billion (42.2%) as compared to 2020.
Other major countries such as Canada, which showed an increase of 70.1% and Brazil (52.8%) are catching up.
As global populations grow rapidly and healthcare expenditure is indicating an upward trend, it is thus predicted that these countries will become a major force in driving future market expansion.
Outlook for 2022: Driving the Growth of Made-in Malaysia Rubber Products Globally
Among the activities outlined to enhance the visibility of Malaysia Rubber products globally include participation in international trade shows, working visits, business matching, international seminars, ministerial missions, and conferences.
The most recent participation was during the Arab Health Exhibition held from January 24-27, 2022, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in which MRC has successfully facilitated 98 business matches with prospective buyers with total sales of RM110.5 million.