Lithuanian businesses are starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus in China as spare parts and imports are drying up. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian finance minister said the country has enough financial reserves if the virus reaches Lithuania.
The biggest problem is the lack of spare parts in Europe as they are produced in China, according to Lithuania's Baltik Vairas, the largest bicycle producer in Northern Europe.
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The company has several dozen partners in China and ships some 30 percent of necessary spare parts from the Asian country. It takes around two months for the deliveries to reach Lithuania.
Žilvinas Dubosas. the CEO, said the company was forced to postpone the production of several thousand bicycles.
"There's no major problem yet but it will start in May, and then the situation will be critical,” he told BNS. “What left China before the disease has arrived and we have work, therefore, we will feel it with some delay. We are on standby now as the eventual impact is unclear."
"We usually halt production in August but we might need to go on vacation in May," he added.
Irma Spudienė, the head of DSP Plius, a company selling respirators, workwear and other safety products, said the demand for respirators has gone up significantly in recent weeks.
"We have never had such a number of enquiries and calls a day. […] We could beat those sales but we have nowhere to bring the products from," Spudienė told BNS.
The company buys from suppliers in Europe which import the products from China. But there's a shortage in China itself, he said.
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Kęstutis Černeckas, director of commerce at BY&N, a Kaunas-based company selling LED light fixtures that buys all products from China, said the company managed to order a large part of its products before the coronavirus outbreak, therefore, does not feel any effects on its operations yet.
"We work not only with the Lithuanian but also with foreign markets,” Černeckas told BNS. “We now have a delivery period that is longer by some three weeks."
The company works with 30 productions facilities across China – from Shanghai to Hong Kong, which allows to monimise risks.
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Coronavirus to affect Lithuanian economy
The coronavirus outbreak will have implications for the Lithuanian economy, Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said on Tuesday.
"There are both direct effects through disrupted supply chains and indirect effects through falling demand," the minister told LRT Radio. "In other words, both manufacturing and international trade could be affected."
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"When the virus outbreak had not yet spread outside China, the IMF said that there might be a negative impact in the first quarter," he said. "But now I think there is high uncertainty, given that the virus is moving and spreading further in Europe."
According to the minister, Lithuania has enough financial reserves to deal with a coronavirus outbreak if it reaches the country.
"There are certainly enough reserves to buy protective equipment and medicines," he said.