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Weakening rupee hits imports from Pak

Weakening rupee against US dollar has cast its shadow on imports from Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land route as importers claimed downfall of 30-35 per cent in volume of import of commodities from neighbouring country because of sharp currency fluctuations.

Adopting a cautious approach, Indian traders have now either cut down their new import orders or held them back completely until the rupee gets stabilised against American greenback.

“There is a downfall of 30-35 per cent in volume of import from Pakistan because of sharp weakening of Indian rupee against US dollar,” Amritsar-based trader Jaspal Singh told PTI on Sunday.

“Against the average daily arrival of 125-130 truckloads crossing over to India, we are now receiving just 70 trucks a day carrying commodities like cement, gypsum, chemicals from Pakistan,” Mr. Singh said.

Traders mainly import cement, gypsum, chemicals, including soda ash, liquid and dry fruits from Pakistan, valuing over Rs.1,000 crore per annum, importers said.

Financial transactions between traders of Pakistan and India at Attari-Wagah route is carried out in US dollar currency.

He said a sharp fluctuation in rupee against US dollar has made import from Pakistan expensive, thus making it unviable.

The rupee got depreciated by over 10 per cent against the dollar since this fiscal and it even touched a lifetime low of 61.21 on July 8.

Traders import cement in bulk from Pakistan as it is 30-35 per cent cheaper per bag against the cement available in India.

Besides, gypsum is another commodity which is imported in huge quantity.

Importers further said the appreciating dollar against rupee will also take a toll on the new season of import of dry fruits, including dry dates, which will start in next 15-20 days.

“There has been almost 40 per cent drop in the booking of dry fruits this season against last year’s orders as traders fear losses because of weakening rupee against dollar,” dry fruit importer Anil Mehra said.

He said on an average, 17 lakh bags (70 kg bag) of dry fruits are imported ever year from neighbouring country as there is a huge demand for dry fruits across India.

Blaming the Centre for its “poor” policies, traders sought early and effecting action from the government to stem the weakening of rupee against dollar.

“There is a huge volatility in the currency and traders are not sure of which rate they will pay after booking orders as rupee is not stabilising yet. The government needs to step up its efforts to stabilize rupee against dollar,” said trader Rajdeep Uppal.

Keywords: Indian rupee, US Dollar, depreciation, rupee-dollar trade, Indo-Pakistan trade, imports, commodity imports

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