Expert Speak

War and SARS Add to Uncertainties and Slowdown


The protracted Iraq war and the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) scare are dampening the growth scenario. The significance of both events is not lost on us.

p____p While there are a large number of Indians working in the gulf, the impact from the other disaster that seems to be sweeping across the borders of countries at will and an alarming speed, should not be discounted. Besides the significant health risk, this could also affect business, especially IT hardware.

p____p It is sad that SARS seems to have affected that part of the world most, which was seeing dynamic economic resurgence. The Guangdong region of China, close to Hong Kong and home to many factories has come into spotlight for the wrong reasons.

p____p This could have a great impact on the SCM (supply chain management) in our country. Indian traders and entrepreneurs were beginning to frequent China based factories more frequently and I believe a few business tie-ups are in place. Also Computex, which happens in Taipei and Cebit Asia, which takes place in Shanghai are on the travel lists of many Indian vendors and distributors scouting for deals.

p____p Events have been cancelled, the Intel developer forums in Taipei and Shanghai being the biggest of them. The fear factor has affected the plans of companies, airlines and also countries as a whole.

p____p Again, there is a fear of traveling as was just after 9/11. With the Indian industry depending quite a bit on of supplies coming in from the Singapore- Taiwan route, there could be some repercussions such as delays in shipments.

p____p The disaster needs to be tackled on war footing, for unlike the Iraq war, which may remain restricted, SARS would not recognize or appreciate boundaries. At the moment, it is true that this unforeseen phenomenon has stalled the speed of global business.

p____p IDC�s revised growth forecast on IT spending worldwide, of 2.3 percent growth from last year is lower than its previous forecast of 3.7 percent growth, largely due to continued economic and geopolitical uncertainties. SARS adds an additional dimension to the uncertainties.

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