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Asia Business: The Week in Review - 2003-11-17

China's industrial output accelerated in October, and South Korea saw a slight rise in its jobless rate.

Chinese industrial output grew at its fastest pace in eight months - up 17 percent in October compared with a year ago. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that growth in telecommunications equipment production was one of the main reasons behind the gain.

China also reported that its consumer prices are rising after more than two years of declines. Overall the consumer price index, or CPI, rose 1.8 percent in October from a year ago. The bureau noted that food and fuel costs saw sharp increases.

Despite signs of economic recovery in South Korea, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit a two-year high in October. The national statistics office reported October's unemployment rate at three point seven percent compared with September's three point five percent.

Financial analyst Sean Darby with Nomura Securities in Hong Kong says part of the problem is weak domestic spending. "[South] Korea, in contrast to most of the region does not have much of a consumer leg... the exporters in [South] Korea are very synchronized to the global economic recovery and have been doing very well," he says. "But the figures coming out at the moment from the household sector still suggest that they are going to be repaying debt for the best part of 2004 as well. So we call it a one-legged economy at the moment."

Indonesia's government says it will go ahead with plans for massive lay-offs at the state aircraft maker Dirgantara Indonesia.

In an attempt to save the financially struggling company, an estimated 6,000 people will lose their jobs, while four thousand other workers could be temporarily suspended. Employees have been protesting the move. The government promises to compensate former employees and says the funds will come from the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency.