Being a necessity item, especially in the healthcare and food industry, the demand for rubber gloves remained robust in 2012 despite the Euro-zone debt crisis. Other major factors that boosted demand include improvement in healthcare awareness, healthcare reforms with more stringent regulations following H1N1 scare and decreasing raw material costs. The emerging economies represent the greatest potential for growth given the low penetration of glove usage in their healthcare industry. With substantial rise in natural rubber latex prices over the past 2 years, there was a shift in demand towards nitrile gloves. As a result, most of the gloves manufacturers are either building up new nitrile glove production capacity or switching existing production capacity from natural rubber to nitrile rubber.
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Malaysia still dominates the global glove market as the largest producer and exporter of rubber gloves worldwide. Malaysia holds advantage in raw material availability, infrastructure, R&D, development of supporting industries and support from government agencies over other countries. Other leading nations that produce rubber gloves include Thailand and Indonesia.
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