The Czech Competitiveness Council is a platform for debating competitiveness, economic policy and promoting solutions across all sectors, public and private.

Spotlight Issue

January 28: Data Privacy Day + statement of Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Jourová

28 January 2015

AmCham and its Czech Industry Coalition for Data Protection (CICDP) would like to inform you, that January 28 is a Data Privacy Day. DPD is an international effort to recognize the importance of protecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. Data Privacy Day's goals are to:

- Raise awareness and educate consumers to better understand how their personal information may be collected and the benefits and risks of sharing personal data.
- Empower consumers to express their expectations for the use, protection and management of their personal data.
- Inspire consumers through concrete, simple and actionable tips to more actively manage their online lives.
- Encourage and motivate consumers to consider the privacy implications of their online actions for themselves and others.
- Encourage businesses to be data stewards by being open and honest about how they collect, use and share personal information and clearly communicating any available privacy and security controls.
For more information, click here.

Statement of Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Jourová: Concluding the EU Data Protection Reform is essential for the Digital Single Market

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News

Competitiveness: Czech economy outlook for 2015 (and review of 2014)

23 January 2015

On Thursday 22nd January 2015 the Czech Banking Association published its economic outlook for the Czech economy for the year 2015. This outlook is updated and published quarterly and it is comprised of contributions of Raiffeisenbank, ČSOB, GE Money Bank, UniCredit Bank, Česká spořitelna, J&T Banka, Komerční banka and ING Bank analysts. This outlook foresaw the economic growth for Czech economy to reach the rate of 2.4 % that is slightly better compared to last year’s outlook of 2.3% growth. Despite certain fears of various risks and challenges that were mostly of geopolitical nature (cheaper oil, Ukraine, Russia) the Czech economy in 2014 performed well and was maybe a bit surprisingly pulled by domestic demand rather than by net export. Main components of domestic economic growth were investment that contributed to the growth with 1 % and household consumption with more than 0.5 %. Despite higher percentage of investment the amount of loans that were taken to finance the investments remained lower as most of the companies used their own resources to invest. The situation of Czech economy in 2014 forms a good starting point for companies expectations for the year 2015 as the percentage of CEOs that are afraid of bad future development of Czech economy dropped from nearly 33 % to 14 % (according to the PwC survey). Also partial sector development contributes to this optimistic outlook as the secondary sector of Czech economy plays more significant role than before as the companies strive to build the impression of Czech industry as strong, growing and innovative.

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Economic Policy: ECB announces €1.1 trillion QE program

23 January 2015

In a largely expected move, the Governing Council of the ECB approved on 22 January a massive quantitative easing program. Despite opposition from the German members of the Governing Council, the executive of the bank adopted the decision by overwhelming majority. The ECB and the central banks of the eurozone countries will buy government bonds on the secondary market from March 2015, worth €60 billion a month. The program is not limited in time and will not be terminated before September 2016. The move comes after the announcement of the inflation for last quarter. Although pulled down mostly by the falling prices of oil, eurozone inflation dropped below zero for the first time since 2009 - it reached -0.2%. Experts expected the QE announcement and mostly welcome it, as well as its scale, that is reportedly larger than expected. At the same time, though, they point out, that QE is a last-resort option. With interest rates close to zero and other programs supplying liquidity to the market not working enough, the ECB had very little options left. The program is designed to tackle the deflation and to provide an impetus to the eurozone economy by providing in abundance cheap money for investment. According to the ECB President Draghi, the program will continue until the inflation is well on the trajectory to reach the “below, but close to 2%” inflation target of the central bank.

For more, click here, here and here.

   

AmCham Policy Report, Issue 2 - January 21

22 January 2015

AmCham issued its 2nd Policy Report on Good Governance and Economic Development.

Competitiveness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, whether a country is competitive or not depends on the numbers of positive decisions to invest made by a different investors with disparate interests. Some of these investors require low labor costs, others require highly educated engineers or other specialists. Some demand a domestic market with puchasing power: others are intersted only in a platform for export. For economic policymakers, it is not enough to want to be competitive, they must decide how to design government policy which makes them competitive in one ore several niches of the economy.

To download the report click HERE.

 

Competitiveness: Czech currency on a rollercoaster

18 January 2015

Last week we witnessed significant weakening of the Czech currency. Let’s sum up some facts that led to this scenario and its evolution during the week. As it was already written here the Czech Crown reacted on Friday 9th January on the news of very low inflation rate apart from being influenced by the problems of Eurozone and broke the limit of 28 CZK for 1 EUR. This was followed by the speculation that the Czech National Bank would have to intervene even more to avoid deflation. Although the officials of the Czech National Bank denied the need for the intervention in the near future the debate was stirred up again on Monday when the unfavorable November statistics of retail sales were released. In reaction to this evolution the CZK weakened again by 0.30 CZK during the business day. The outlooks of various institutions and experts were even grimmer, for example GNP Paribas or former central banker Eva Zamrazilová, when they foresaw the CZK to go to 29 or even to the limit of 30 CZK. Also the Wall Street Journal nominated the CZK as the worst performing currency of all currencies of the world and also mentioned how interconnected the Eurozone and Czech Economy are and how low is the Czech inflation.

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