Appreciating dollar makes imported items out of reach


Imported consumer items, hardware and electronic items are on the rise with the depreciation of the Rupee over the past few months.

The Sri Lanka rupee has seen a steady decline against the US dollar since January 2012, from Rs. 114 to the dollar on January 15, to ultimately reach a record high of Rs. 134.8 to the US dollar on June 28, 2012.

Prices of toys, cosmetic items and vehicle spare parts have also increased with the depreciation of the rupee.
Anton Cruze of Amro Sugars in Pettah said the grains most affected by the appreciation of the dollar are dhal, coriander and chickpeas, which had increased by Rs. 5 to 7 within two weeks.He said the prices of sugar and chilies had also increased with the appreciation of the dollar.

A. Pradeep, a salesman at a toy store in Pettah said that since the appreciation of the dollar, all battery-operated toys such as remote-controlled cars and planes have increased in price.  Vehicle Importers Association Secretary Keerthi Gunawardana said that ever since the rupee was allowed to float, prices of vehicles have also increased.

He said that even the finance companies have increased their lending rates, with a consequent drop in customers, as they can no longer afford to even lease a car. A leading importer of food items from Pettah said that, the prices of imported goods have increased by 100%, because the duty on the items has increased proportionately with the appreciation of the dollar.
He said that sales will decline, as customers would prefer cheaper local products over imported ones.

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