Mumbai, Feb 21
Due to slump in stocks, following stoppage of shipments from China, because of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the prices of fancy electric lights have shot up to five per cent and if the situation continues, the hike of 15 to 20 per cent in Chinese goods is expected shortly.
Fast-moving Chinese products like mobile covers, accessories, phones, electronic items, clothes, etc have already seen a price hike of almost 10 to 15 per cent in the last couple of weeks. The hike of 5 to 7 per cent in multi media items and toys and a steep hike in electronic goods is also anticipated. India receives 3% of the total exports by Chinese companies. Apart from spare parts of electric items, China supplies over 90 per cent of decorative light strings, lamps, and other such electric items and since the production has stopped, the hoarding of such products is on the rise.
The Bhagirath Palace Electronics Market, located at Chandni Chowk in New Delhi, considered as Asia’s largest electric goods wholesale market, is largely dependent on China for the supply of spare parts. All fancy electric lights are mostly manufactured in China and the prices of such items have shot up to five per cent in the last three months.
The prices of TV, washing machines and AC are also likely to be shot up due to probable shortage of spares. “There has been an acute shortage of spare parts for many electric equipment as China has shut down factories and other units in more than a 1,000 km radius of Wuhan province. This has led to a blockade of import of such goods,” Bhagirath Palace Electric Market Association President said Bharat Ahuja said.
Sameer Lalani, of Mira Road, near Mumbai, engaged in a wholesale business of Chinese plastic and home utility products said that “last stock I received was in the second week of January. I had placed the order in “Yiuw” personally in September last year. It usually takes 20 to 25 days for the shipment to arrive at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) after being loaded on a ship in China. The stock I have will last for a few more weeks,” His work involves visiting China’s Yiuw market, known as the world’s largest small commodity wholesale market, every three months. He sells his wares on the website wholesaledock.com.
The arrival of seven ships from China between February and March at JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Navi Mumbai) has been cancelled. “We have been following the directions of the Ministry of Shipping. International crew members on-board cargo ships entering JNPT are being screened by the port health officer (PHO). A thermal scanner has been installed and screening reports are being sent to the union government. Some cargo vessels, especially containers, originating from China and crossing Malaysia, Singapore and Colombo have rescheduled their calls to JNPT,” a JNPT spokesperson said.
An expert working for a shipping company, said that measures are being taken on cargo ships going to Chinese ports with the crew not allowed to venture out. “We too have a ship going to China, but our crew has to follow a strict protocol. The epidemic has also impacted revenue earning for most freight and cargo carriers”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not yet found any case of the disease being communicated through a non-living object such as containers or electric or other items that are being imported from the neighbouring country. Even doctors here too have expressed similar opinion. But the trade between India and China remains shut.
As the industry is expecting the epidemic to be resolved by March end, it is expected trade will resume by April. However there may be a huge inflow of goods from Chinese industries when the market reopens, which may cause a temporary increase in freight rates.