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Businesses Brace for Currency Chaos in Asia


Tigun Wibisana and Sandra Kok, who own a cafe in Malaysia, are facing an excruciating decision that could make or break their business of 14 years: Can they increase prices to cover rising expenses without driving customers into the arms of their bigger rivals?The cost of the coffee beans that the couple, who are married, buy is spiraling because they are traded globally in U.S. dollars, and the Malaysian ringgit has fallen to a 24-year low. Compound that with an inflationary spike in prices for butter and flour, essential ingredients for its pastries, and the shop’s profits have plunged more than 25 percent this year.“Eventually we may have to raise prices to survive, but I don’t have the guts to do it now,” said Mr. Wibisana, 65, who roasts the beans and makes the baked goods.Their cafe, SiTigun on Penang Island, is one of many businesses in Asia that are being squeezed by the strength of the dollar …

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