Malaysia's glove manufacturing to stay elevated post-Covid

Credit: REUTERS/Top Gloves/Anas Zakwan

By Liz Lee

KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 (Reuters) - The Malaysian rubber glove industry is expected to grow at a quicker pace even after the coronavirus pandemic, albeit at lower than current levels, Malaysia's glove maker association said on Monday.

The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) said it estimates output could grow at 17% annually post-pandemic, higher than the 12-15% in pre-pandemic times due to expected demand.

This year, MARGMA has projected a 20% increase to about 220 billion units, around 67% ofglobal marketshare.

Vice President Supramaniam Shanmugam said that while growth may not mirror current levels, but it would be better than before the pandemic.

"We cannot run our lives based on unusual occurrences, we have to run it on the norms of supply and demand. And the norms dictates that post-Covid is going to be higher than pre-Covid," he said.

He also said the recent restrictions placed by the U.S. on Top Glove Corp TPGC.KL are not expected to weigh on industry growth projections.

Two Top Glove subsidiaries were barred last week by the U.S. Customs on forced labour concerns. However, the company said shipments to the U.S., if returned, would easily be taken up by other nations.

Top Glove, the largest medical glove maker globally, said it is engaging the U.S. authorities to find a resolution within a month.

Supramaniam told Reuters on the sidelines that the association stood by Top Glove and is ready to show support if needed.

Malaysia exports 99.6% of gloves produced and the United States is its largest export market, at 36.3% of total export value in January-March.

Malaysian glove counters have continued to rally on Monday, with Top Glove taking the lead rising as high as 13.8%.

(Reporting by Liz Lee, editing by Louise Heavens)

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