Following a recording-breaking trade surplus in January, which has just been revised higher, the Czech trade figures for February proved to be stronger than expected with a trade surplus for the month of Kč 28.7 billion. Car exports continued to drive the powerful performance.
The Czech Banking Association’s (ČBA) research arm has published a telling study focusing on competition in the financial sector and how it contributes to the health of the economy as a whole. The study could hardly be timelier — the capability of national economies to succeed in the era of globalization and systematic strengthening is the cornerstone of efforts to lead the European Union out of the ongoing financial crisis.
Czech activist Jan Cemper wants “real democracy” — and he wants it now. The main objective of his group, which draws its inspiration from foreign protest movements such as the Indignados and Occupy Wall Street, is to organize tent protests in the capital and other cities starting from April 28. Under the name Occupy Prague they intend to build a tent village to serve as a venue for debate over alternatives to the current political-economic system.
Nearly all the boxes ticked positive in the March survey of Czech business confidence carried out for HSBC with the overall index rising for the second month in a row. The improvement has led to suggestions that the worst of the economic crisis could be over.
Upon first glance, the Czech cabinet’s decision to back a reduction in EU agricultural subsidies as of 2014 appears logical. Spending cuts are being made in all areas, yet spending on agriculture still swallows almost a half of the union’s total budget. It would appear that cutting subsidies would force farmers to be more productive, and globally competitive, especially if bureaucratic and administrative burdens are reduced.
Overall confidence in the Czech economy remained nearly unchanged in March, with the composite confidence indicator increasing by 0.1 percentage points month on month (m/m), the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) said Monday. “Among entrepreneurs confidence increased in construction, in trade and in selected services; in industry it remained unchanged,” it said, noting that consumers were less optimistic.
With billions of crowns in EU funding frozen, the Czech government is finally taking action. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) is planning to gather all the auditors responsible for controlling EU grant expenditure from various regions and regional bodies into a single unit within his ministry. According to a number of sources, however, the Finance Ministry holds its fair share of responsibility for misuse of EU funds and flawed surveillance.
With a couple of exceptions, the richest Czechs have all relocated their firms to countries with lower corporate taxes, the Netherlands and Cyprus being the favorite destinations. Minister of Industryand Trade Martin Kuba (Civic Democrats, ODS) says it’s “unfair” that that these entrepreneurs tell the government how to improve conditions for business in the Czech Republic.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats, ODS) has downplayed his government’s decision not to sign the EU fiscal discipline treaty. Speaking at the “Economic Interests of the Czech Republic in the EU” conference on Monday, the center-right politician also said he was working towards closer EU integration in the form of finalization of the single market — which he lamented was not completed decades ago.
Warrants issued by courts for the seizure of property due to unpaid debts, or distraint orders, rose to a record high in 2011, the Czech Chamber of Bailiffs has announced. Czech courts issued a total of 936,000 distraint orders last year, 234,000 more than in 2010, and 175,000 more than in 2009, a record year prior to 2011.