KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia’s rubber glove exports are likely to surge nearly 20 per cent to 230 billion pieces in 2020, up from 192 billion pieces last year, as the world rolls up its sleeves to fight against the deadly novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV).
Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) president Denis Low said the export growth forecast is higher than the 210-220 billion pieces predicted by the association earlier.
“This will mean that the rubber gloves export revenue is also expected to grow higher than the earlier forecast of RM20.68 billion,” he told Bernama when contacted on Friday.
As the disease has spread internationally, Low anticipates global demand for rubber gloves to increase by 15 to 20 per cent, up from the normal demand growth of 8-10 per cent.
“Initially, the world is expected to take about 320 billion pieces of rubber gloves this year as compared with 298 billion pieces in 2019.
“With the outbreak, demand can be more,” he said.
Citing the Influenza A (N1) pandemic in 2009, Low said demand for rubber gloves had surged 17 per cent in that particular year. Taking the cue from N1, he predicted that rubber glove sales would grow between 15 and 20 per cent this year.
“It depends on the duration of this outbreak, and it is definitely not going away soon and could easily drag through another six to eight months,” he said.
The coronavirus contagion broke out in Wuhan, China in late December 2019 and is currently infecting 28 countries and territories worldwide.
As of Friday, over 31,000 confirmed cases have been reported, including 15 in Malaysia, while the death toll has reached 636 people in mainland China.
Malaysia, being the world’s largest glove maker, came to China’s rescue when on Feb 1, 2020 it pledged to donate 18 million pieces of medical gloves to the country in a bid to contain the outbreak.
Malaysian firms that have pledged to donate medical gloves to China include Smart Glove Corporation Sdn Bhd (5.8 million pieces), Top Glove Corporation Bhd (three million), Hartalega Holdings Bhd (2.58 million), Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (2.12 million), Supermax Corporation Bhd (two million), Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd (one million), YTY Group (one million), Brightway Sdn Bhd (300,000), Koon Seng Sdn Bhd (100,000) and Careplus Group Bhd (100,000).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.
Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)