Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wal-Mart inspectors find more violations at foreign factories

Wal-Mart inspectors find more violations at foreign factories
The Jakarta Post

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas (AP): Wal-Mart Stores Inc. found a higher rate of severe violations at foreign factories last year as it stepped up inspections for labor and environmental standards in more than 60 countries where it buys clothes, toys, shoes andother products, it said in a report.

Only 23 factories were cut off from Wal-Mart's business for repeated violations, a sharp decline from 1,200 in 2004. But the retailer said that was in part because of a change in its auditing rules. It expects the number to increase again this year.

Wal-Mart posted its "2005 Report on Ethical Sourcing" on a section of its Web site last week but did not make any public announcement, spokeswoman Beth Keck said.

"In 2005, we audited more factories than any other company in the world, performing more than 13,600 initial and follow-up audits of 7,200 supplier factories," the report said.

The company is also the target of a U.S. lawsuit seeking class-action status for factory workers in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nicaragua and Swaziland.

In 2005, Wal-Mart's inspectors reported what it calls "high-risk" violations at 52 percent of those factories, compared with 36 percent in 2004.

Medium-risk violations were reported at 37 percent of plants, down from 43 percent the year before. Only 10 percent of factories were found to have no violations or only minor ones, compared with 21 percent in 2004.

Last year, as Wal-Mart came under mounting criticism led by union-backed campaign groups, Chief Executive Lee Scott said Wal-Mart would step up enforcement of workplace and environmentalstandards. It does not own factories but instead buys from others who do. (**)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

China’s Chery plans to make cars in Indonesia, daily says

JAKARTA: Chinese auto maker Chery Automobile is planning to set up a production base in Indonesia for its Chery QQ model aimed at the Southeast Asian market, an Indonesian newspaper reported yesterday.

Bisnis Indonesia said Chery had asked Indonesia's second largest auto distributor PT Indomobil Sukses Internasional Tbk if it could produce the model.
Indomobil, a distributor for a number of global brands, distributes the Chery QQ in Indonesia. The company recently lost the distribution rights for Mazda Motor Corp. Indonesia is a production base for a number of leading global automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Suzuki Motor Corp.

Although sales of new vehicles in Indonesia hit a record high of 533,910 last year, the sector has been hit this year by soaring inflation and high interest rates. New auto sales dropped nearly 50% in the first eight months of this year from a year earlier. – Reuters

Monday, September 25, 2006

Currency Strategists: .....

Currency Strategists: Morgan Stanley Says Buy in Southeast Asia

By Clarissa Tan

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The currencies of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia may rise faster than their North Asian counterparts as Southeast Asian central banks let them strengthen to control inflation, said Morgan Stanley's Chief Asia Economist Andy Xie.
A stronger baht, ringgit and rupiah may temper inflation by lowering the price of imported goods, reducing the need for higher borrowing costs that may also choke economic growth, Hong Kong-based Xie said. North Asian economies are not faced with the same inflation pressure, so are more likely to resist currency gains in order to help exporters, he said.
``The central banks of Southeast Asian countries don't want to raise rates, while they also want to control inflation,'' Xie, a former World Bank economist, said in an interview. ``The way to do that is to let their currencies appreciate.''
The rupiah will rise 1.7 percent against the dollar to 9,000 by the end of the month, the baht by 0.7 percent to 37.20 and the ringgit by 0.7 percent to 3.65, according to Morgan Stanley. The won will gain less, by 0.5 percent to 955.
Thailand started raising rates in 2004, followed by Indonesia and Malaysia in 2005, in tandem with a two-year cycle of increases from the Federal Reserve as surging crude oil prices and improving growth stoked inflation. With the Fed having paused and oil near a five-month low, Southeast Asian central banks may prefer the lesser effect on growth of a stronger currency pushing up export costs than higher rates curbing investment and spending.
The Bank of Thailand's ``current interest rate is at the appropriate level to accommodate growth if inflation doesn't accelerate,'' Assistant Governor Atchana Waiquamdee said in Bangkok after the bank left its rate at 5 percent on Sept. 6.
Spur the Economy
Malaysia's government on Sept. 1 said a stronger ringgit will help contain inflation, while its central bank on Aug. 25 held the key rate at 3.5 percent to support economic growth.
Indonesia's inflation was at 14.9 percent on-year in August and Thailand's at 3.8 percent. Malaysian prices rose at a 4.1 percent pace in July. Their rates are higher than South Korea's 2.9 percent in August, while Taiwan consumer prices fell 0.57 percent that month from a year earlier.
``By trying to keep both inflation and interest rates low, they are hoping to encourage consumption and spur the economy,'' said Xie, confirming a report he wrote last week. Rising prices and higher borrowing costs deter consumer spending.
The rupiah has gained 2.9 percent in the past three months and the baht 2.7 percent. By contrast, the Taiwan dollar weakened 1.1 percent and South Korea's won 0.3 percent.
`Noticeably Weak'
Southeast Asian nations' export growth gives their central banks room to let currencies appreciate, said Xie. A rising currency may hurt exporters, as it increases the price of goods sold abroad.
``Domestic demand is noticeably weak, especially in Indonesia and Thailand,'' Xie wrote in the report, dated Sept. 4. ``Hence, it makes sense to trade currency strength for rate hikes.''
Among the three nations, Indonesia posted the largest export growth in July from a year ago at 23.4 percent, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics in Jakarta on Sept. 1. While Malaysia recorded the lowest rate, the 16 percent rise announced by the trade ministry in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 5 was the fastest in 16 months.
The Bank for International Settlements said in its quarterly review that Asian central banks, which have sold their currency to limit strength, may have to raise interest rates or let their currencies appreciate as inflation quickens.
To contact the reporters on this story: Clarissa Tan in Singapore at .

Indonesia to develop telecom network

Indonesia to develop telecom network

The Indonesian government will hold a national and international fiber optic and wireless network construction bid in an effort to speed up development of an Internet Protocol-based telecommunication network, a senior official said.
"We will prepare the tender procedure in the next two weeks," Antara news agency quoted Communication and Information Minister Sofyan Djalil as saying here Wednesday after opening an IndoComtech computer exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center.
The fiber optic development project would hopefully boost domestic industry of communication and technology (ICT) and reduce the high tariff of Internet, he said.
With fiber optic-based telecommunication network connections with foreign states, the Internet tariff in Indonesia could be reduced significantly, he said.
"The government is ready to reduce the Internet tariff for the sake of ICT development," he said.
The minister, however, did not mention the capacity of fiber optics that would be needed to build the network and the investment value of the project.
The government, he said, would not reap benefit from the bid but only facilitate the network's development.
Sofyan said that some telecommunication operators had already built fiber optic networks that encircled Indonesia.
The government's plan to establish fiber optic-based telecommunication network would create good competition with the other telecommunication operators, he said.
"The bid will be conducted openly. It's not impossible that foreign investors will also take part in the bid," he said.

( )

Indonesian outlines

Indonesia outlines plan to attract more businesses
Tuesday, 05 September 2006

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia promised Monday to step up efforts to combat corruption, terrorism, bird flu and other threats to stability, and he said that "with luck" the economy could double in 10 years.
Addressing about 400 company executives and diplomats at a business conference in Singapore, Yudhoyono said his government was also committed to democratization and to creating a better climate for investment.Indonesia needs foreign investment to spur growth in the $276 billion economy, which accelerated for the first time in a year and a half in the second quarter. While the government expects growth to quicken to 5.9 percent this year, doubling GDP by 2016 is unlikely, said Ross McLeod, an economist at the Australian National University.
"That would require growth at about 7.1 percent on average for a decade," said McLeod. "Clearly, focused economic policy making is much more difficult these days, under genuine democracy.


Nokia wins WCDMA/HSPA network and managed services deals with Telkomsel

Nokia and Indonesian operator Telkomsel have signed a new three-year WCDMA 3G/HSPA radio and core network, and managed services contracts that will see Nokia support Telkomsel in strengthening its business and introducing 3G services, such as streaming video, to its customers.
Nokia will operate Telkomsel's multivendor WCDMA 3G network, which will be supported by the Nokia NetAct(TM) network and service management system. In addition, Nokia will provide network planning, implementation, multivendor integration, and delivery services with turnkey responsibility.
Under the agreements, Nokia will supply Telkomsel radio solutions, including the modular, high capacity Nokia Flexi WCDMA Base Station and Nokia High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) software to deliver Telkomsel top performance. From its Unified Core Network solutions Nokia will supply Nokia MSC Server mobile softswitch, Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery (ICD), Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Push to talk over Cellular (PoC), Presence, and charging solutions, and Flexi Intelligent Service Node (INS) that will enable Telkomsel to offer and manage a wide range of advanced IP-based multimedia services in a cost-efficient way.
The 3G network and managed services contracts cover Greater Jakarta, and West and Central Java, which are the most densely populated areas in Indonesia. The application and charging solutions, including ICD, IMS, Flexi ISN, PoC and Presence, will be delivered nationwide to cover all provinces in Indonesia. The managed services contract also covers the nationwide applications and charging solution.

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