Malaysian glovemakers say Covid-19 curbs may hurt global supplies

Global demand for medical gloves this year is expected to remain at 420 billion pieces.
Global demand for medical gloves this year is expected to remain at 420 billion pieces.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Malaysia's rubber glovemakers appealed to the government to allow factories in Selangor state to still operate amid tighter movement curbs that took effect on Saturday (July 3) to prevent a disruption in global supplies of the protective gear.

The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) is seeking a meeting with the Trade Ministry as 58 per cent of all gloves produced in the country are sourced from plants in Selangor, Margma president Supramaniam Shanmugam said in a statement on Sunday.

The government imposed stricter measures in Selangor, the most industrialised state, and in the capital Kuala Lumpur, which are among Malaysia's worst-affected regions, despite a nationwide lockdown.

Selangor contributed about half the new daily Covid-19 cases on Saturday.

"Global customers of our manufacturers have been calling with great concern on the shortage of production and delivery of gloves to them," Mr Shanmugam said.

The lockdown had stretched lead times on deliveries and the "enhanced movement control order will further hamper the supply situation", he added.

Margma members collectively produce and export gloves to 195 countries, supplying 67 per cent of global consumption.

Global demand for medical gloves this year is expected to remain at 420 billion pieces, and jump by 15 per cent to 20 per cent in 2022, according to the statement.