Although China is planning to expand its production of nitrile gloves in the coming three years, this is not a direct cause of concern for Malaysia’s rubber glove industry. The reason for this is that Malaysia enjoys several advantages over China, including improved production quality, cheaper overall cost, and more advanced technology. Furthermore, prices of natural gas in China are more expensive compared to China, and so is the labour cost.
According to CGS-CIMB Research, China has also suffered from the shortage of natural gas in the past, which negatively impacts production and diminishes the overall quality of the nitrile glove. The natural gas consumption cost in China is also higher because of the different weather seasons, accounting for around 10% of the overall cost.
Intco Medical and Blue Sail Medical are the two Chinese glove makers looking to increase their capacity to produce nitrile glove. The production capacity of Intco at the end of 2019 was five billion pieces and expansion plans to 59.2 billion pieces annually by the end of 2023. In contrast, Blue Sail Medical aims to expand its production from the recorder 4.3 billion pieces at the end of 2019 to 36.1 billion pieces per year by the end of 2023.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is expected to increase the per capita glove usage across China. Therefore, the increased production capacities of both Intco and Blue Sail will be channelled towards meeting the rising demand domestically, according to CGS-CIMB.
The per capita yearly glove usage in 2018 in the EU was 100 and in the US was 150, both of which are much higher compared to China’s six pieces.
According to Maybank IB Research estimations, the collective new supply from Intco Medical and Blue Sail would make up 7%, 4%, and 1% of the expected worldwide demand for rubber glove between 2020 to 2022. The worldwide demand for nitrile glove between 2020 to 2021 will be driven by supply due to the lack of adequate capacity to meet the abrupt increase in its demand caused by COVID-19. The projected growth capacity for the globe’s biggest nitrile glove producers, Sri Trang, Supermax, Kossan, Hartalega, and Top Glove, is between 16% to 19% for the years 2020 and 2021 in that order.
Maybank IB Research estimates the worldwide demand to average 20$ annually from 2020 to 2021 after taking into account the expansion of other industry players. It is also approximated that the market will approach equilibrium in the halfway through 2021, and the risk of short-medium oversupply is minimal. In addition to this, Maybank IB Research estimates that the average selling prices might start to slowly ease after the second quarter of 2021 once the flu season that happens during winter has passed.
The aggressive push by China to increase its nitrile glove production might stem from the need to lower environmental pollution, need to support the local demand migration to nitrile from vinyl gloves and switch in demand in developed markets. Therefore, Maybank IB Research sees China’s shift to rubber gloves in the coming five years will be supply-led leading to the expansion of nitrile capacity. This would be essential to satisfy China’s substantial local demand that would have been otherwise met by increased imports.
Independent trials struggle to detect antibodies in the early weeks of the infection. Faulty antibody tests are a major issue and concern. Tests that show false negatives can mislead someone into thinking that they do not have the virus when in fact they do.
The tests were advertised as being Dutch-made. Websites that have been advertising and seeling the antibody tests advertise the tests as being Dutch-made. Since controversy has spread about these false results these tests give, the websites have removed the words “Dutch-made” from the website. These tests are rather popular. Over 1.6 million have been sold worldwide. Believing these tests were Dutch-made caused them to believe to be accurate tests for antibodies. This could be a possible reason why the tests were trusted by so many European countries. However, this was false information since Alltest is a Chinese company. Quality checks were not thoroughly done.
Many may be wondering how are inaccurate antibody tests entering countries. PPE has specific certifications that show a product complies with European standards. There’s a specific CE mark that lets someone know if the product has been certified. However, there have been corrupt criminal groups that have found a way to imitate the official CE mark. Due to lockdown measures, companies and countries have not been following the same importing security measures. This is one possible way the antibody tests were able to make its way into the country. OCCRP reporters are reporting how these tests are being tracked down. They are covering the stories of how these tests are being hunted down and removed from websites. Tracking these tests can be tricky as these tests have been rebranded on multiple occasions.