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Rubber - statistics & facts

Rubber is an elastic polymer known to be used as a thermoset elastomer once it has been strengthened by vulcanization. Rubber is a hugely important commodity worldwide, used in thousands of everyday items. In 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 impacted the industry, with global rubber production decreasing five percent year-on-year to 27.4 million metric tons. Despite these disruptions, the global synthetic rubber market size is estimated to be 19.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 and is forecast to grow to 23.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. As of May 2021, the price of rubber at the Singapore Commodity Exchange was 2.29 U.S. dollars per kilogram, having recovered from a low of 1.33 U.S. dollars per kilogram in April 2020 during peak COVID-19 lockdowns.

Types of rubber

There are two main types of rubber – natural and synthetic. Natural rubber (also referred to as caoutchouc and India rubber) is produced from latex derived from rubber trees. Although the rubber tree is native to South America, the Americas only account for 2.5 percent of global natural rubber production. In comparison, natural rubber production in Asia totaled 12.25 million metric tons in 2019, accounting for 90 percent of global production. Thailand produces more than four million metric tons of natural rubber per year, making it the world’s largest producer of natural rubber.
Synthetic rubber refers to any artificial elastomer, which is mainly polymers synthesized from byproducts of the petroleum refining process. There are approximately 20 different chemical types of synthetic rubber, with different grades of rubber in each of those chemical categories. As of 2020, synthetic rubber production accounted for 53 percent of the global rubber supply.

Uses of rubber

Rubber has a large stretch ratio, is highly waterproof, and has high resilience. This makes it a very useful material that can be used for a wide variety of applications - either alone or in combination with other materials. The vast majority of rubber consumption is attributable to the manufacture of tires and tubing. The remaining rubber consumption is used to manufacture products such as rubber boots, rubber bands, and disposable rubber gloves - the latter of which experienced a huge surge in demand in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, successful vaccine rollouts have seen demand for gloves fall considerably.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Rubber ".

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