The Thai Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) has predicted that the country’s rubber consumption will reach 750,000 tonnes next year.

OIE Director Somchai Harnhirun said the demand for rubber will hit the said figure in 2014 and 1 million tonnes in 2015.

The comment came after the 2nd meeting with rubber business operators over approaches to strengthening rubber product output in order to stimulate demand in the industrial sector, which currently stands at 500,000 tonnes annually.

After the Board of Investment (BOI) has approved a plan to entice Michelin, the giant tire manufacturer in Songkla province, to produce special medium-grade tires and export them to the company's mother country, France . If the plan goes well, it will increase the demand for raw rubber by 40,000 tonnes per year.

Somchai said the tire industry, which accounts for 70 percent of the total rubber consumption, is expected to expand between 7-8 percent next year. Meanwhile, the latex glove industry, which normally consumes only 20 percent of the nation's rubber, is expected to continuously increase its production in line with the global economic recovery.

In addition, the Government-approved 15 billion THB low-interest loan for rubber business owners via the Government Savings Bank and Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation is being finalised and the conditions of the loan will soon be made public. The programme will help enhance rubber production capability in the industry, leading to higher rubber consumption.-VNA