The disaster in northeast Japan on March 11 and subsequent nuclear plant meltdowns and explosions will not have significant impact on rubber demand from the country. Auto-tyre companies having plants in the country’s northeast have already confirmed that there is no damage to their plant buildings or facilities. A few plants which have to be shut down, due to power supply stoppage and safety concerns, will resume production on restoration of electricity supply.
Japan accounts for seven per cent of the global demand for natural rubber. The closure of a handful of auto-tyre plants in the country’s northeast region for a few days cannot impact on the commodity’s global demand in a significant way. If at all there is any marginal impact, it will be for a short-term only.
Bridgestone Corporation has reported that all its five plants in the northeast Japan are unaffected although production has to be stopped due to power supply problems and on safety considerations. Plants can be reopened on restoration of power supply and completion of safety verification. Production has already been partly resumed in one of the five plants closed. Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. confirmed that buildings or facilities in any of its plants in the region have not been damaged although a plant has been temporarily shut down due to power outage.
No damage has been reported for Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and Michelin which are the three other auto-tyre manufacturing companies running plants in Japan.
The disaster is unlikely to have a noticeable impact on global economy as Japan has not been a driver of the global recovery from the economic meltdown in 2008. Moreover, the tsunami-hit region is far from Japan’s economic hub which is the area from Tokyo South to Osaka. Although the country's economic and manufacturing activities may be affected in the short-term, rebuilding activities could help revive the economy in the medium term.
Prof. Djoko S. Damardjati
Source : http://www.anrpc.org/html/details.aspx?ID=36