Sunday, February 9th, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak: Khulna traders feel the pinch

Sunday, 09 February 2020 | 11:56 am | 23 times

Coronavirus outbreak: Khulna traders feel the pinch

The outbreak of coronavirus in China’s Hubei province is disrupting shipping services and export-import activities, sending reverberating effects throughout the markets.

Bangladeshi traders and markets are already feeling the brunt. Traders in the southern region say a sharp decline in imports of Chinese goods has pushed up the prices and now threaten to shut down factories that rely on raw materials from China.

“Businesses are failing to order new products as all types of export-import activities were shut with China after the coronavirus outbreak,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of Khulna Chamber of Commerce.

Letter of Credits (LCs) opened two months ago were closed, creating a crisis of imported products, he added.

Traders in the southern region exported 416.2mts of kuchia (Gangetic mud eel) and crab worth Tk 34.64crore in the first six months in 2019-20 fiscal year, said Basudeb Mondol, general secretary, kuchia and crab traders samity.

Crab and kuchia export to China remained suspended since January 26.

According to Khulna Export Promotion Bureau, Bangladesh exports crab and kuchia worth Tk 700 crore every year. Ninety percent of these go to China.

Meanwhile, markets in the south are reporting shortage of Chinese goods. Traders in Khulna markets have already hiked prices of Chinese products by 10-20 percent.

Production at some factories is about to shut down since 70 percent raw materials come from China, stakeholder said.

Yasin Ali, a Khulna-based electronic goods importer, said production of electronic goods has been shut in China and there is no assurance when it will resume.

Ali said prices of TV, computer parts, remotes and other retail Chinese goods have increased by 10-20 percent.

“If the situation doesn’t improve in 15 days, the crisis of all products will be acute,” he added.

The novel coronavirus, which originated from China’s Hubei province, has infected more than 37,198 people globally and claimed 811 lives till Sunday, according to AP.

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