Thai rubber protests spread – prices surging

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Thai rubber rallyProtests of Thai rubber farmers demanding government compensation for low world market prices for the commodity spread on September 4, with around 12,000 farmers in the south of the country continuing to block roads and railways.

Demonstrations are now going on in at least 3 other provinces originating from a protest in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where main traffic arteries have been blocked by protesters for more than a week. Two protester were killed by gunfire at the blockade site, with police believing it was triggered by infighting among the demonstrators.

The Thai Cabinet on September 3 approved 5.62 billion baht ($176 million) as a subsidy for rubber planters as proposed by the National Rubber Policy Committee, but negotiations failed on direct purchasing prices for rubber sheets through the government which said price intervention was not the answer to the declining prices. The price as of September 3 was 85.90 baht ($2.67), but the farmers want 101 baht.

However, Thailand’s finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the government will not consider paying farmers guaranteed price for rubber “for now.”

As a result of the protests, rubber on the world markets traded near the highest level in more than 3 months amid speculation the rallies may disrupt shipments. Thailand is the world’s largest producer and exporter of rubber.

Thailand produces 3.6 million tonnes of rubber each year. Only 500,000 tonnes were for local consumption while the rest is exported.

The country’s prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra said earlier that “continued protests by southern rubber growers could lead to violence and legal action will be taken against excessive actions during the demonstration.” She added that “the people‚Äôs economic problem should not be blown out of proportion,” and then left for one of her almost weekly trips abroad, this time to China.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Protests of Thai rubber farmers demanding government compensation for low world market prices for the commodity spread on September 4, with around 12,000 farmers in the south of the country continuing to block roads and railways.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Thai rubber rallyProtests of Thai rubber farmers demanding government compensation for low world market prices for the commodity spread on September 4, with around 12,000 farmers in the south of the country continuing to block roads and railways.

Demonstrations are now going on in at least 3 other provinces originating from a protest in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where main traffic arteries have been blocked by protesters for more than a week. Two protester were killed by gunfire at the blockade site, with police believing it was triggered by infighting among the demonstrators.

The Thai Cabinet on September 3 approved 5.62 billion baht ($176 million) as a subsidy for rubber planters as proposed by the National Rubber Policy Committee, but negotiations failed on direct purchasing prices for rubber sheets through the government which said price intervention was not the answer to the declining prices. The price as of September 3 was 85.90 baht ($2.67), but the farmers want 101 baht.

However, Thailand’s finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the government will not consider paying farmers guaranteed price for rubber “for now.”

As a result of the protests, rubber on the world markets traded near the highest level in more than 3 months amid speculation the rallies may disrupt shipments. Thailand is the world’s largest producer and exporter of rubber.

Thailand produces 3.6 million tonnes of rubber each year. Only 500,000 tonnes were for local consumption while the rest is exported.

The country’s prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra said earlier that “continued protests by southern rubber growers could lead to violence and legal action will be taken against excessive actions during the demonstration.” She added that “the people‚Äôs economic problem should not be blown out of proportion,” and then left for one of her almost weekly trips abroad, this time to China.

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