CURRENT SUPPORT BRIEF
SINO-SOVIET BLOC PURCHASES OF NATURAL RUBBER IN1
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND REPORTS
central intelligence agency
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SINO-SOVIET BLOC PURCHASES OF NATURAL RUBBER 1
Bloc imports of natural rubber increased aboutercent1 toetric tons. ignificant curtailment in Communist China's rubber buying was more than offsetharp rise ln imports by the USSR. Economic, as opposed to political or military,probably were responsible for these diverse trends.
Soviet imports probably amounted to atonsons above0 level and significantly above the previous peakons During the firstonthso the USSR were being made at an annual rate ofons, but this rate nay havo increased in the last part of the year.
The stepped-up rate of Soviet Imports1 apparently waB caused primarily by shortcomings in synthetic rubber production, with replacement of depleted inventories andikely contributing factor. Synthetic rubber production was scheduled torom anonsons, but the absence of claims that this ambitious plan was met, plus evidence of delays in construction at several plants, suggests that the plan was undorfulfllled substantially. In addition, tontative estimatesthat inventories, which may have declined somewhat0 whenfellons, may have been built up againhe Soviet decision to cut back on rubber imports0 may have been due, at least in part, to the high market prices that prevailed for most of the year, but which dropped sharply Substantialear fluctuations apparently occurred ln the level of Soviet rubberand stockpiles duringeriod, but there was little net change over the seven-year period. 1/
The reduction ln Chinese imports, partially counterbalanced byIn re-exports to the USSR and the European Satellites, reflects the general retrenchment of the economyesire to reduceof convertible currencies, and the reduced activity In the rubber fabricating industry. Purchases by the European Satellites showed little change1 although output of rubber products is known to have rison. Increased production of synthetic rubber in Poland,0 metric tons00 tonsrobablyontributing factor in the decline in Polish imports0 to an0 long tons.
Recent press articles on Bloc rubber buying stated that the USSR is now the world's largest Bingle "user" of natural rubber.his does not appear to be true yet, although US consumption is falling and Soviet consumption is rising. Soviet consumption of natural rubber is believed to have at least doubled5hile USdeclined about one-third. Soviet consumption, however, is still well bolow US consumption.
Soviet imports of natural rubber are expected to continue at leastrobably with fluctuations in the level of purchases throughout this period as new capacities for synthetic rubber go Into operation. Average annual Imports of natural rubber by the USSRwillons or more. Substantial additional quantities will bo purchased by Communist China and the European Satellites.
Sino-Soviet Bloc Imports of Natural01 3/
Thousand metric tons
Communist China European Satellites
a/ Official Soviet statistics give imports of natural rubberhousand metric tons. The estimates given hero may not adequately reflect re-exports of rubber by Communist China to the USSR and to the European Satellites; and re-exports from the USSR to the European Satellites.
b/ Estimated on the basis of shipments for the firstonths
c/ Estimated on the basis of shipments for theonths "
The Synthetic Rubber Industry ln the USSR During the
Seven-Year, Dec linT
Secretariat of the International Rubber Study Group, London.
Rubber Statistical Bulletin,.