Indian timber imports fall on weak rupee | SupportBiz

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Indian timber imports fall on weak rupee

Timber importers in India, the second largest importer of the raw material after China, are buying lesser due to a weak rupee, according to an industry body. The Indian rupee hit a record low of 56.40 rupees to the dollar on May 24.

It closed at 55.185/195 per dollar four days later, data available with the country’s largest lender, the State Bank of India showed, reports Reuters

Imports are down by almost 40 percent in the last three to four months, said Atul Jindal, the general secretary of the Timber Merchants Association.

Over 90 percent of India’s timber consumption is met by imports from several countries such as Myanmar, Malaysia, and Africa.

Many traders in India have halted buying and are adopting a wait-and-watch policy because they can’t afford to keep loosing money, says Ashok Agarwal, the president of the Timber Merchants Association.

But lower buys by importers may not tighten the supply of timber in the market, says Agarwal. Lower demand, especially from the key housing and construction sectors at present, is expected to offset the impact of reduced supply, he adds.

The rupee depreciated by 12 percent in the last two-and-a-half months, says timber importer Atul Garg, who’s based in Gujarat. The state’s Kandla sea port is the largest timber stock yard in Asia, according to an IndiaInfoline report.

That importers operate on wafer thin margins, around two or three percent, adds to their woes when the rupee weakens, Garg adds.