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Natural rubber production rise 13%

Vietnam forecast it's natural rubber production would rise 13 percent this year to 680,000 tonnes to meet growing demand at home and abroad, an industry official said on Tuesday.*

"The output is expected to increase steadily every year until 2010, thanks to advance planting technology and good rubber variety," Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, general secretary of the Vietnam Rubber Association, told Reuters.

Exports from Vietnam, the world's fourth-largest natural rubber exporter, could reach 700,000 tonnes to 750,000 tonnes this year, compared with 719,000 tonnes last year, Hoa said in an interview.

"The export volume could change depending on what is used domestically and the temporary import volume," she said. Hoa said the country's annual rubber imports would be stable at 150,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes, part of which would be exported, while domestic consumption could rise up to 85,000 tonnes thanks to demand from Kumho Tire Co Ltd.

The company, South Korea's second-biggest tyre maker, is expected to complete the first phase of a $200-million tyre plant in the southern province of Binh Duong this year. Last year, Vietnam used about 76,000 tonnes of rubber for domestic production, industry figures show.