The weaker Indian rupee is making Indian fabrics more attractive to Sri Lankan garment manufacturers.

Sri Lanka's Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) is encouraging partnerships with Indian fabric suppliers that can meet quality standards required by garment makers in the country.

"The Sri Lankan rupee is still very strong. But the Indian rupee has depreciated by nearly 20% and as a result, Indian fabric is very competitive," said the head of the JAAF,  Ajth Dias, speaking at the opening of the AISEX and FASE apparel industry exhibitions on Thursday (6 November).

The Sri Lankan garment export industry imports more than US$1bn worth of fabrics each year.

Although India is one of the largest producers of cotton and synthetic fabrics in the world, the majority of fabrics used in Sri Lanka are imported from East Asian countries like Hong Kong.

However, financial conditions have seen the Indian rupee depreciate against international currencies while the Sri Lanka rupee is currently considered over valued.

A shift to Indian fabrics, where possible, is expected to help local garment factories remain competitive in the face of increasing manufacturing costs in Sri Lanka.

By Dilshani Samaraweera.