The last few weeks have seen a lot of political turmoil in our home state of Maharashtra. None of the political parties have come out smelling like roses and have proved that ideology does not matter, but only power and money do. Maharashtra contributes 14% to India’s GDP and one hopes that the three-party coalition of the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress will provide a stable government for the state, which is the country’s financial capital.
India’s GDP for the last quarter has plunged down to 4.5% officially, which means that it is possibly only 3.5% or less. The next quarter is expected to be even worse. Hardly a good sign for our target of a $5 Trillion economy by 2025!
While the economy is in a very bad shape, the Central government in Delhi is still in no mood to implement much-needed major reforms or even to curb extremists, whose action damages India’s image internationally, in addition to making life insecure for some minorities.
US President Donald Trump is inching closer towards impeachment, while the US economy is suffering from the effects of the trade war with China.
Our Cover Story features ATMA (Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association) India’s Tire Association. It is possibly the only national tire association which had to fight from its very birth against well- entrenched multinationals (Dunlop & Firestone). It is to the credit of India’s tire pioneers that ATMA survived and flourished. It has raised the profile of the Indian tire industry nationally and internationally. India manufactures all types of tires from the smallest to the largest OTR tires and exports to over 120 countries. In the next five years, the Indian tire industry will rank 2nd globally after China.
The current ATMA Chairman K M Mammen, also Chairman & Managing Director of MRF Ltd., India’s largest tire company, is proving himself to be a worthy successor to his illustrious father, the late Mammen Mapillai, one of the founders of ATMA. ATMA is also fortunate to have a very capable and experienced Director General Rajiv Budhraja and a finely tuned team.
Natural Rubber prices and local production remain low, leading to a demand for import of NR at lower import duty and a reversal of the damaging inverted imported duty structure.
China’s biggest rubber exhibition “RubberTech China” held in September was another great success, thanks to the excellent organisation of China United Rubber Corporation (CURC).
I hope that our readers will find Smither’s paper on the specialised synthetic rubber market outlook interesting. On the technological front, China’s MESNAC continues its progress with the launch of its smart tire-making systems and equipments.
As the year draws to a close, here’s wishing everyone Merry Christmas and a very happy, prosperous and successful New Year.