Business News

Central European bourses to cooperate

The national stock exchanges of five Central European countries have been working towards close cooperation prior to EU accession. The Prague Stock Exchange said a concrete plan would be presented in September. The project includes six types of joint approach, for example in quotation, clearing, marketing and providing information about blue chips on websites. The integration of stock exchanges requires harmonisation of legislation and close cooperation of national capital market supervisory bodies.

According to Petr Sedlar from the BBG stock brokerage company, there are two possible ways of development: Export to CEFTA countries on the rise

Czech exports to the partner countries within the Central European Free Trade Agreement rose by 12 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2000, to nearly 2.5 billion USD. Although imports from other CEFTA countries grew by even more, the Czech Republic maintained a surplus trade balance. The Czech Statistics Office said the main Czech export commodities include semi-finished products, machinery and vehicles.

Foreign trade debt on the increase

The Czech foreign trade deficit more than doubled in July and reached almost 4 hundred million USD, well beyond expectations. The Czech Statistics Office said the sharp increase was due to increasing imports and prices of oil. The unfavourable development was partly compensated for by increased Czech exports of products with high added value to EU countries.

Czech Post Office to issue commemorative postmark for IMF/WB session

The Czech postal service, Ceska Posta, is planning to issue a commemorative postmark on the occasion of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual session which takes place in Prague at the end of September.

CzechInvest: a billion USD to arrive

The Czech government's agency CzechInvest which was established to attract foreign capital to the Czech Republic, expects that its new projects will bring a billion USD to the country. The head of CzechInvest, Martin Jahn, said the total amount of foreign investment in the Czech Republic this year should reach 6 billion USD.

Komercni bank has mass redundancies

One of the largest Czech banks, Komercni Banka, which is still partly owned by the state and will be privatised soon, laid off almost 1600 employees at the end of July. The redundancies, which will reach 2500 altogether, are part of internal restructuring. The bank has paid them generous redundancy payments equal to 8 or 9 average monthly wages.

Govt. changes Central Bank's aim

The government has approved the removal of an article in the Constitution specifying that the aim of the Czech National Bank is monetary stability. According to the government, the current specification contradicts European Union legislation, which outlines price stability as the central bank's main goal. Under a separate controversial amendment to the central bank law itself, the government also aims to reform other aspects of the Constitution which govern the central bank's board and monetary policy.

Jewellers ready to face false diamonds

The Czech Association of Jewellers has denied media reports about imports of false diamonds to the Czech Republic that are impossible to distinguish from true jewels. The Association said its members are equipped with devices capable of detecting false gems. Besides, they issue certificates for the precious stones they sell. Some Czech newspapers reported that false diamonds are being sold in the Czech Republic but their value is ten times lower than that of true diamonds. The false diamonds are claimed to be moissanits, man-made stones used in electrotechnology which have virtually identical characteristics to diamonds.

Greenpeace calls for Temelin delay due to damaged reactor vessel

The environmental organisation Greenpeace has called on the Czech government to delay the activation of the Temelin nuclear power station due to an allegedly damaged reactor vessel. In a letter to government representatives, Greenpeace suggests the vessel may have been damaged during repairs conducted in 1994 and claims to have alerted the Czech Nuclear Safety Office to the problem earlier this month. The call comes on the heels of allegations of safety risks at the station made this week by German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin.

Farmers and subsidies

As preparations for EU membership are well underway, the Czech agricultural sector faces many changes, some of which may not be in its favour. The press secretary at the Czech Ministry of Agriculture, Hugo Roldan, told Radio Prague about some of the main changes the Czech agricultural sector will be facing before the country's accession to the European Union.