The Prague Stock Exchange (BCPP) has established a loosely regulated market for small caps, called START, which aims to attract small- and medium-sized companies with lower reporting and listing requirements than needed for companies trading on the main PX Index.
The Slovak Poštová banka, controlled by the financial group J&T, is buying up the loans of the chemical plant Spolchemie, the most valuable undertaking of parent company Via Chem Group, from Czech banks. Any transfer of Spolchemie’s property would significantly affect Via Chem Group’s creditors, i.e. Prague 6 and Prague 10, whose blithe politicians set off down the path of risky investment with the dodgy brokerage Key Investments a few years ago.
The Czech branches of UK banks HSBC and RBS, Dutch ING, and Raiffeisenbank of Austria are backing out of large financing agreements and limiting all loans in drive to shore up capital reserves to level of €128 billion in line with requirements set by the European Banking Authority (EBA). Analysts predict the cost of borrowing will rise and in a worst case scenario a credit crunch could follow.
Raiffeisenbank’s analysts forecast the Czech economy will retract by 1.2% in 2012 chiefly due to the economic slowdown in the eurozone. The Austrian-owned bank also predicts a rise in inflation reaching an average annual rate of 2.7% in 2012, and expects the exchange rate to stand at Kč 25.5 per euro at the end of this year, and Kč 24 per euro at the end of 2012.
On Tuesday, for the first time since January, one USD bought over CZK 19. Over the past month the Czech crown has fallen almost 6% in value against the dollar, the second-largest depreciation of all currencies after the Hungarian forint. And while the euro has lost over 2% to the dollar in the same period, the crown has lost around 4% against the embattled common currency.
The Constitutional Court (ÚS) overturned a government-proposed law on decreasing state support for saving with a building society. The court said that in passing the law, the government abused the state of legislative emergency. A majority of managers polled by Czech Position support the idea of reducing state support although some were vehemently opposed to the move, with one even calling the finance minister a “traitor.”
Key assets belonging to the bankrupt firm Setuza, and indirectly to the Via Chem Group, are up for sale, the daily Mladá fronta dnes reports. The assets include a pressing plant and refinery for edible oils and brands such as Ceresol, Lukana, Vegetol and Mýdlo s jelenem. The sale is also of importance to the administrations of Prague 6, 10 and 13, which have hundreds of millions of crowns at stake in Via Chem Group.
A recent discussion showed a mix of opinions on how much emphasis should be given to social cohesion issues during an economic downturn. But due to demographics, many EU countries will soon have to rely on payments from incoming foreigners to make pension plans work. A trip to a government office, however, shows the humiliation that non-EU people face in trying to establish themselves here.