Shortage of Suzuki car mirrors reflects Sri Lanka’s growing economic crisis

Shortage of Suzuki car mirrors reflects Sri Lanka’s growing economic crisis

COLOMBO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Vehicle spare components dealers in Sri Lanka’s key town of Colombo are acquiring a regular stream of consumers looking for what is quick getting to be a prized commodity in the island country – facet mirrors for Suzuki’s compact Wagon R.

The scramble for the humble item highlights soaring economic dangers for the South Asian region as imports slump, international trade reserves plummet and a likely sovereign default looms.

Suzuki’s boxy, 5-seater car is hugely common in Sri Lanka, presented its minimal jogging fees. With some 30,000 of the cars bought more than the previous four decades in a nation that has somewhat superior road crash premiums, alternative facet mirrors are generally sought in the spare pieces retailers scattered across the suburb of Nugegoda.

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“Everybody is on the lookout for Wagon R components,” explained Supun Deshak, a salesman at one store in the district wherever shop fronts are piled high with reconditioned spare sections.

The difficulty is that importers are battling to supply auto elements because they are considered non-necessary imports under policies drawn up by the authorities to conserve dwindling overseas exchange reserves right after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Reserves have plummeted to $2.36 billion from $7.5 billion in January 2020. At the same time, the government faces a personal debt obligation of around $4 billion this year, and community banks are normally not able to offer pounds that importers will need.

“The most significant worry suitable now is the issues in importing spare elements for preserving the present fleet of vehicles,” claimed Yasendra Amerasinghe, chairman of the Ceylon Motor Traders Affiliation (CMTA), which represents the country’s main automobile importers.

The CMTA estimates imports of car or truck spare pieces will slide by close to 30{dd7d296f04c8497fbd53789c82c7888820e9ba5c2c0620f7eb01a9d3f7fa072e} in benefit phrases this fiscal 12 months, when compared to pre-pandemic stages, generally since of the international exchange shortages in the previous couple of months.

5 car sellers in Colombo told Reuters lots of spare components ended up previously in quick supply, with only a trickle of new stock coming in from abroad, driving up area charges.

Exacerbating the problem are burglars hunting to make a rapid buck by thieving side mirrors of well-liked designs like the Wagon R to offer in a flourishing grey current market, the sellers reported.

The rate of reconditioned Wagon R mirrors has surged by a lot more than 35{dd7d296f04c8497fbd53789c82c7888820e9ba5c2c0620f7eb01a9d3f7fa072e} from pre-pandemic stages to at the very least 30,000 Sri Lankan rupees ($148.5) for each piece, the dealers said.

2nd-HAND Vehicle Value SURGE

The financial disaster struggling with the country – its worst in a decade – has also brought on an escalation in next-hand automobile costs.

Pretty much all vehicle imports ended up banned in March 2020, followed by a halt on imports of other non-critical items like airconditioners, refrigerators and online video game titles consoles, as aspect of the government’s bid to offer with the economic strife.

That has pushed the price tag of some 2nd-hand vehicles up by more than 100{dd7d296f04c8497fbd53789c82c7888820e9ba5c2c0620f7eb01a9d3f7fa072e}, the CMTA mentioned. Sri Lanka does not mass deliver any cars domestically.

A utilised Wagon R at the moment fees all over 5 million rupees ($24,752), effectively previously mentioned the 2.8 million rupees a manufacturer new auto price in 2018, stated CMTA Vice Chairman Virann De Zoysa.

That’s added even more stress on the spares marketplace as quite a few car proprietors glance to hard cash in on the rate jump but first check out to spruce up their car with substitute parts, claimed Musthaq Nazeer of Azka Auto Offer, a modest store packed with automobile mirrors and lights.

As international automotive supply chain disruptions increase one more layer to the trouble, the CMTA mentioned it has asked the govt to classify car or truck spare parts as an important merchandise, together with some food items and medication, to boost imports.

“Every single distributor’s out of lots of, many essential sections,” De Zoysa explained. “We’re turning absent buyers on a each day basis.”

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Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal and Uditha Jayasinghe editing by Jane Wardell

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