A Rising Rupee Hammers Indian Textiles

The rupee's 11% gain against the dollar has driven U.S. and European retailers to switch their orders to countries with weaker currencies

In the basement of a white-and-blue painted factory, frail, sari-clad G. Sivakami is checking track pants for flaws before they get shipped. The 40-year-old Sivakami works for the Stallion Group, a $20 million garment manufacturer in Tirupur, a city of 800,000 in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu that is a center of the country's apparel industry and a focal point for a gathering crisis in Indian manufacturing. For the past six months, Sivakami's eight work shifts a week have shrunk to six. Her $70 monthly income has dropped 25%, and she has been struggling to feed her unemployed husband and college-bound son. The other factories in Tirupur have cut back, too, so Sivakami plans to stay put. "I have no choice," she whispers.

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