Earthquake affects Cornish business

Image caption Business leaders in Cornwall are closely monitoring the state of Japan's economy

Business leaders in Cornwall are closely watching how Japanese industry responds to the earthquake.

The Japanese authorities are struggling to cope with the humanitarian aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

Many businesses in Cornwall have forged close links with Japan, buying components for their products direct from the country.

Company boss Blair Carroll from Redruth said quotes from one Japanese supplier had risen 20%.

Japan is the world's third largest economy with a huge manufacturing industry.

Mr Carroll, Managing Director of Boosters Limited, which supplies promotional products to businesses in the county, said prices were rising rapidly.

"One of the main products is a USB supply. I came in on Monday morning and had a quote in for a client, and by the afternoon the price had risen by 20%.

"Our suppliers have suspended publishing price lists on particular products like USB devices and it's very much a price-on-application situation.

"Also they can't guarantee supply times because the infrastructure in Japan has effectively broken down at the moment.

"Essentially our customers will be paying more. There's nothing we can do about it.

"I guess that unlike a lot of other manufacturing companies who tend to stockpile, Japan tends to manufacture to order, so when something like this happens the effect is immediate."

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