Peril at the Pumps

The factory floor at Asia Tile, in Surabaya, Indonesia, about 650km from Jakarta, is not a very happy or productive place these days. Earlier this summer, the company sent a quarter of its 2,700 employees packing, and employees fear another round of layoffs may be imminent. The reason, says Bambang Wicayo, the company's technical manager, is no mystery: skyrocketing oil prices have increased the cost of bringing in raw materials and delivering goods, while higher natural gas prices make it more expensive to fire the kilns that produce tiles. "If the price of gas continues to go up, we will not...

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