Markets that depend on Chinese imports are running out of supplies as production in China hasn’t resumed due to coronavirus fears.
Electronics importers in Pakistan are worried since most of the supplies they imported before the Chinese New Year vacations are almost finished. This includes mobile phone hardware, accessories and spare electronic parts.
“We have reached a historic low in the stock of supplies,” said Ahmed, a bulk importer of electronic items, who is based in Karachi’s Saddar mobile market. “I only have some 10% reserves. This has never happened before.”
The market has responded to the dwindling supplies by raising prices. LCD screens for mobile phones that cost between Rs900 and Rs1,000 now cost Rs1,800. Supplies are also running out.
A 30% price hike has been recorded for mobile accessories but so far, there are enough supplies for a month.
A notification by New Asia International Electronic & Digital City, said the delay was “in order to ensure the health and life safety of merchants and customers”.
Like Ahmed, many business-to-business dealers are concerned as supplies were to resume on February 22, which they say would have alleviated the demand pressure. Instead, they received messages from their suppliers in China saying that the goods would be delayed indefinitely.
“I think we will not get any supplies now until March 6. That, too, if we are lucky,” said Aadil, another importer.
He facilitates all types of imports, including garments, jewelry and electronics. He said that even now the production units in China have not reopened as coronavirus fears are rampant.
“People are still concerned and production units are empty in China as the virus has not been contained,” he said.
He also said that a phone brand with a customer base in Pakistan has totally run out of its phones since all its assembly units are in China.