Thailand floods to put the grinch in Christmas
CATASTROPHIC flooding in Thailand, which has killed more than 370 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless, is also hitting supplies of consumer goods in Australia in the run-up to Christmas.
CATASTROPHIC flooding in Thailand, which has killed more than 370 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless, is also hitting supplies of consumer goods in Australia in the run-up to Christmas.Shortages of electronic goods including cameras and stereo equipment, personal computers and automobiles are already being felt due to the disaster in Thailand, one of the world's major manufacturing nations.Companies including Nikon, Canon, Sony, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Isuzu and Western Digital the world's largest manufacturer of hard disk drives all have large factories in flood-affected areas north of the capital, Bangkok.Factories owned by Honda, Nikon and Sony are so badly flooded they are not expected to recover, according to Japanese daily newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.Car maker Honda suspended production at its Ayutthaya factory on October 4, four days before it was flooded. The factory is the company's largest in south-east Asia, producing 240,000 cars a year, including its biggest-selling models in Australia, the Jazz, CR-V, Civic Sedan and Accord.A Honda spokeswoman said the factory was inaccessible and it was impossible to say when production would resume. "At this stage, it is too early to determine the impact on supply and sales in Australia, as there is no access to the factory due to an evacuation order," she said.Camera manufacturer Nikon's situation is just as bad the Ayutthaya factory that produces 90 per cent of its SLR cameras is partially submerged under two metres of floodwater."We still have difficulty to grasp the overall damages of our equipment and facility since access to the premises continues to be prohibited," the company said.Shipment of SLR cameras into Australia has already been severely affected. National product manager at Ted's Cameras, Mark Allister, said the company had been told Nikon's stock levels are down 80 per cent and would not recover before the end of the year. "It's not looking good for Nikon at Christmas, let's put it that way," Mr Allister said.Some models had already sold out, and it was likely the shortfall would affect retail prices, he said."Certainly it'll affect supply, so you would expect the price would [rise]," he said. "When you go into a store and ask for a discount it's going to be harder to get one because there'll be less stock around."Sony said its stocks of headphones and digital cameras would be hit.A global shortage of hard disk drives in the new year is also feared because 25 per cent of the world's stocks are assembled in Thailand.Western Digital expects the floods will more than halve the company's hard drive sales this financial quarter.Locally, computer brands Dell and HP said they expected some disruption to their supply chains, but both companies said it was too soon to assess how severe it would be.