The demand for rubber gloves has been resilient after the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-2010, according to a new report from Research and Markets, Global Rubber Gloves Market: An Analysis - 2012." However, the industry is going to witness normalization in demand as there has been no major pandemic outbreak since last year. Although the industry has proved to be recession proof over the time, its growth mainly depends on the usage of gloves in the medical sector.
Malaysia remains the largest worldwide producer and exporter of rubber gloves at present and exports rubber gloves to the U.S., European Union, Latin America, China and India. The U.S., which is the largest glove importer, has been seeing an uptrend in total healthcare expenditure as percentage of GDP since 2000. The UK and major European countries are experiencing similar trends, and it is expected that other countries would raise their hygiene standards eventually.
Countries like India, China and Brazil have posted an increasing demand for rubber gloves in the recent past mainly because of the rising concerns related to health and hygiene in these regions. Demand for lower-end powdered latex gloves is popular among developing countries whose end-users are more cost-conscious. Powder-free latex and nitrile gloves are preferred by developed countries, namely the U.S. and European countries.
Latex is the major raw material required in manufacturing rubber gloves. Its price fluctuation becomes critical in determining the average selling price of glove. Other issues concerning to the industry, mainly to natural rubber glove producers, are continuous high volatility in latex price, a weaker U.S. dollar, and oversupply situation in the industry, resulting in a lower cost pass through to customers.