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Asia Business: A Look Ahead


There are some mixed signals on inflation in South Korea, where consumer prices rose in July by four tenths of a percent from June. That is the fastest rate in four months. Meanwhile, the country's consumer price index from last July is up just 2.5 percent. That is slightly lower than many economists had forecast.

Deputy Finance Minister Park Pyong-wan says the government believes price levels will remain stable, but policymakers will have to keep a cautious eye on some areas.

Mr. Park says a number of factors could still fuel inflation, and restrict the ability of central bankers to keep interest rates low in the interest of growth. Those factors include spiking world oil prices, real estate speculation, and possible speculative activity in Asian currencies like the Chinese yuan.

China's central bank chief, Zhou Xiaochuan, says his government will eventually reveal more details of the new "managed float" system for the yuan. He did not say when.

In July, Beijing revalued the yuan, allowing it to appreciate against the dollar by just over two percent. China also changed the peg from the U.S. dollar to an unspecified basket of international currencies.

Indonesia's top officials are trying to attract foreign capital by taking their message abroad. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is to attend "Indonesian Investment Forums" in both London and New York this September.

Senior government officials and executives from top Indonesian companies will be on hand to pitch opportunities in the country's telecommunications, energy, and infrastructure sectors.

Economists say international investment in Indonesia is slowly increasing, but the country's economic climate remains hampered by widespread corruption, heavy regulation and security concerns. Indonesia has experienced three separate terrorist attacks since 2002, killing a total of 234 people.

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