Czech Republic

President Zeman vs. analysts

24 August 2014

On Thursday 21st August president Zeman in his statement  said that the Czech National Bank devaluated Czech currency on purpose and effectively prevented transition to the common European currency in the foreseeable future to prevent losing its powers to European Central Bank. He was in this statement joined by Josef Středula, president of the Confederation of Czech and Moravian Trade Unions. Since that time he was opposed by many analysts. For example Václav Franče from the Reiffeisenbank said that the Czech National Bank primarily strived to prevent the deflation that was imminent. And the transfer to Euro was still the matter of far future. Deloitte analyst David Marek added that the steps of Czech National Bank were logical as in the view of the economic situation at that time. Also UniCredit Bank analyst Pavel Sobíšek doesn’t share president Zeman’s opinion abouth the side motivation of the intervention. On Sunday 24th August vice-governor of the Czech National Bank Vladimír Tomšík said that the Czech crown should definitely not appreciate and that the bank would keep current exchange rate above 27 CZK/EUR at least until 2016.

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Ministers discussed new opportunities with the Czech exporters

22 August 2014

On Thursday 21st August Minister of Industry and Commerce Jan Mládek and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek met in Černínský palác with the representatives of Czech companies, professional organizations and chambers and discussed opportunities for substitution of Russian markets. The representatives were advised to focus on markets that were equally affected by the Russian sanctions for example Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan or other members of Community of Independent States (SNS). The exporters could also focus on Arabic states such as Saudi Arabia or UAE for food exports or on Philippines for the area of aviation and weapon industry. Exports for the mining industry could be redirected to Canada and components for power plants could be exported to South Korea or some pumps even to Iran. Also Balkan states could be the next on the list of interesting markets.

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Czech Crown Coin enters Czech market

19 August 2014

On 19th August the new Czech electronic crypto currency entered Czech market. The introduction of this first Czech national virtual currency was already announced previous month. This Tuesday the first emission was introduced with the exchange rate of 0.25 CZK for one czc and after approx. half an hour its value exceeded 1 CZK. After selling limited emissions the official trading will begin on 29th August 2014. Among the advantages of Czech Crown Coin compared to other similar currencies is that it enters the market with the fully developed infrastructure and that it will try to avoid the fate of some less successful virtual currencies by regulating the exchange rate during first emissions. Although Czech Crown Coin is new in the Czech Republic, in Europe it joins ranks of Icelandic Auroracoin, Spanish Spaincoin, Greek Greececoin or Scottish Scotcoin.

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Czech Republic provides salary already for 4000 inexperienced graduates

18 August 2014

Within the framework of project introduced by the Czech government to boost employment of fresh inexperienced graduates already 4000 people were employed with the costs 1.3 bn CZK so far and estimate of additional 300 million CZK making it 1.6 bn CZK in total. The programme is very popular among both employers and employees and new funds were already transferred to this project from other less successful projects. The only requirement that employer has to fulfil is to employ graduate that is assigned from the local Employment Office and has less than 2year practice. Then the employer receives funds for the salary of this particular employee for the duration of one year. The salary is limited and differs from region to region and requires only little to no additional salary costs depending on the limit. The number of employees is expected to exceed the count of 5000 eventually.

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The ban on smoking would not affect e-cigarettes

16 August 2014

According to the Minister of Healthcare Svatopluk Němeček who will push the act on ban on cigarettes through the legislation process the ban of smoking in restaurants, bars and discos would not affect so called e-cigarettes. Meanwhile World Health Organization (WHO) wanted to regulate also the e-cigarettes as they don’t create so many toxic fumes but still create addiction and could easily become the entry-level drug for the children. Also US airline companies are among vocal opponents of e-cigarettes as they don’t allow their use on board. However, the number of smoking US high school students is at its 22year low and the share of e-cigarettes in it is growing in favour of classical ones. Also one of the Czech foremost experts on smoking said that smoking e-cigarettes was still better alternative for the addicted people who simply couldn’t stop so easily.

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Group for the assessment of impact of sanctions convened for the first time

12 August 2014

On Tuesday 12th August the Workgroup for the Assessment of Impact of Sanctions originating from Ukrainian crisis convened for the first time. Minister of Finance, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of foreign Affairs and some chosen social and economic partners were present there. State Secretary for the European Affairs said that the main goal of the workgroup was to evaluate data from the sectors influenced by both EU sanctions and sanctions from the Russian Federation side. Ministry of Agriculture will also produce an analysis of impact on agriculture and it is going to present the material in the matter of days and it will also closely cooperate with its partners in EU. Ministry of Industry and Commerce will on the other hand observe the situation of procurement with oil and natural gas and the amount of Czech reserves. The group is to convene on 18th August again and the outcomes of it would serve as a material for the Government meeting.

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European Commission accepted the Partnership Agreement with the Czech Republic for 2014-2020

11 August 2014

On Monday 11th August the European Commission accepted the Czech proposal of Partnership Agreement as it was presented by the Czech side. The lengthy negotiations thus ended and the Czech Republic does finally have the framework for uptake of EU funds. First Deputy Minister of Regional Development Daniel Braun on that occasion thanked all the partners and said that it would mean improvement of investments, competitiveness and quality of life in the Czech Republic. By this step the agreement officially entered the formal approval process and will allow the individual programmes in total amount of approx. 600 bn CZK to be negotiated.

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Prices in the Czech Republic began to grow

11 August 2014

In July according to the Czech Statistical Office the Czech inflation grew from the net 0 to 0.2 % compared to prices in June. In year on year comparison the number was even higher and climbed up to 0.5 %. The prices of alcohol with 2.5 % growth and of tobacco products were the main contributors to the inflation rate. Also the prices of seasonal foreign holidays grew significantly by 12.6 % reacting on the exchange rate interventions of the Czech National Bank. The inflation rate with 0.5 % exceeded the previous expectations that were around 0.3 %. According to the ČSOB analyst Petr Dufek the inflation goal was still far. Also another economist Patrik Rožumberský reckons that the inflation would grow only slowly and would probably be only of 0.4 % for the 2014 which would be the least since 2003. Also the sanctions from Russia concerning food threaten to lower process and impede the inflation.

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Czech exports to Sub-Saharan Africa grow

10 August 2014

According to the data the export from the Czech Republic to Sub-Saharan Africa has doubled in the past five years and reached its maximum in 20 years in 2013 of 16.4 bn CZK which was 6.5 % more than in 2012. The export is expected to rise also in 2014. Although the numbers are rising the Czech exporters still don’t use the full potential of this market as they are focusing predominantly on the Republic of South Africa as we could see from the anonymous survey of Confederation of Industry and Transport. On the other hand only few responded that the would want to cooperate with partners in countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria or Ghanna. Hovewer, Ministry of Industry and Commerce included countries like Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia or Ghana among the Countries of Interest for 2012-2020 and wants to promote cooperation with them for example by opening more Czech Trade branches in these countries. As many exporters admit negotiation, seeking reliable domestic trade partner and entering the market could be lengthy and requires patience. Nonetheless many CEOs of Sub-Saharan countries have European or US education and are not to be underestimated and good preparation is advised.

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More tourists are coming to the Czech Republic

07 August 2014

According to the Czech Statistical Office 5.9 million tourists came to visit the Czech Republic in the second quarter of 2014 which is nearly 3.5 % more than the last year. At least one night in the Czech Republic spent more than 10 million tourists for the last six months. Germans were the most frequent tourists with 19 % that is 10.5 % more than previous year. As a result of crisis in Ukraine fewer Russian and Ukrainian tourists visited the Czech Republic. The year-on-year decrease of Russian tourists was by 14.1 % and of Ukrainian tourists by 34.5 %.  For Russian tourists the setback was not as big as it was expected to be around 20 %. In spite of these setbacks the overall number of tourists grew as it was compensated by aforementioned Germans but also Chinese with 22 % increase or South Koreans with increase of 10.3 % along with the increasing number of visitors from Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.

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