In the business news this week: Czech foreign trade shows its first ever surplus, the Finance Ministry raises its GDP growth forecast as the crown hits a new high against the euro, the government promises almost 4 billion dollars in incentives and Plzensky Prazdroj records a significant increase in foreign sales.
Czech foreign trade shows first ever surplus
Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban forecasts a surplus of 70 to 80 billion crowns this year. Economists said 2005's figures prove Czech exporters are successful in European Union markets despite the strengthening Czech currency. They expect Czech companies to enjoy similar success this year.
Ministry raises GDP growth forecast, crown hits new high against euro
The Ministry of Finance has raised its forecast for GDP growth this year to 4.6 percent, up from the previous estimate of 4.4. However, the ministry has warned of risks posed to the Czech economy from an over-strong crown; the Czech currency this week set a new record of 28.25 to the euro. As for inflation, the Finance Ministry says it expects it to reach 2.6 percent in 2006.
Daily: government promises almost 4 billion dollars in incentives
The issue has been in the news after the Dutch firm LG Philips closed the doors on its TV screen factory in Moravia at the end of last week. State agency CzechInvest says if the company does pull out of the Czech Republic it will have to pay back the incentives it has received so far. Both the opposition Civic Democrats and the head of the Confederation of Industry have criticised the government's approach to incentives.
Plzensky Prazdroj records significant increase in foreign sales
Brewers Plzensky Prazdroj, makers of the famous Pilsner Urquell, say their export sales increased by 29 percent last year, to 2.2 million hectolitres. Its sales of 8 million hectolitres in the Czech Republic were similar to figures for 2004, the company's CEO, Mike Short, said this week.