Cyprus has also been affected by the global economic impact of coronavirus, with more and more business people recording shrinking stock.
Others have already had to turn to much more expensive European markets for supplies, Phileleftheros reports.
At the same time, organised business groups are warning that delays in the delivery of purchased goods may lead to shortages in products within the next couple of weeks.
Local business people also believe that the problem will become even worse, especially for the island’s pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
In 2018, imports from China amounted to €390 million, with some €89 million for boats, €56 million for machinery, €43 million foro electrical and electronic equipment and €15 million for plastic products.
Cyprus’ exports to China amounted to €39 million, the bulk of which were medicines (€24 million) followed by fruits and nuts (€9 million).
Secretary General of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) Marios Tsiakkis told Phileleftheros that the local market’s stocks of raw material and products are on the decline.
“The Chinese economy is struggling to come back to normality, as New Year’s Eve celebrations have been prolonged in order to limit the spread of the virus. Thus, production of their products, transportation and exports have ceased. If the crisis time is prolonged, product shortages in the Cypriot market will be unavoidable,” he also said.
“In two to three weeks’ time there will be a shortage of products such as spare parts, and electrical and electronic equipment and this is serious,” he added.
European industries which import raw materials from China and export products to Cyprus will also face shortages, he also said.
However, the tourism sector has no real fear since the number of Chinese tourists coming to Cyprus is limited.
Costas Christofides of the Cyprus Employers Federation said that a study is now carried out by business at 39 European countries to assess the impact of the coronavirus.
“A total of 150 companies from Cyprus are taking part in this study, saying that they are experiencing delays in receiving raw materials, and pointing out that more checks apply at ports for Chinese products, thus, more delays.”
At the same time, many Cypriot businesses had to turn to other – mainly European – markets that are more expensive, he also said. In addition, some business people had to cancel scheduled trips to China to either sign agreements or attend trade shows.
As for the global economic impact of coronavirus, many global airlines are cancelling flights to and from China – the world’s largest population – forcing oil prices to drop by 11%.
Supply chains are being hit too. This is because of the shutdown of factories and the delays in workers returning from Chinese New Year holidays. Many firms will be experiencing revenue shortfalls and lower business volumes.
By Demetra Landou