Business News

Photo: Filip Jandourek

In Business News: Czech national bank puts pressure on domestic banks to curb long-term mortgages; steel industry rebounds; the cheque is not in the mail, at least regarding Czech Post; energy giant ČEZ hangs on to coal-fired plant.

Central bank seeks clamp down on over 30s

Photo: Filip Jandourek
The Czech National Bank is putting pressure on domestic banks to curb long term mortgage loans to clients. According to the business daily Hospodářské Noviny, the central bank is attempting to convince banks that loans of more than 30 years should only be made in exceptional circumstances. It is also seeking to clamp down on so-called 100 percent loans, where borrowers have no savings to put on the table. The national bank says loans of over 30 years are higher risk because borrowers are unlikely to be able to generate extra cash to repay loans for so long over their lifetime.

Steel sector shows mettle in 2014

Photo: Czech Television
The Czech steel industry showed signs of revival in 2014. The quantities of iron produced last year rose by 2.8 percent and steel production was up 3.6 percent. The sector is being helped by the pick up in the local construction, civil engineering, and car manufacturing sectors. But in spite of expectations of continued buoyant demand, production is seen slipping slightly in the next years before picking up again in 2020.

Czech Post sees lean times

Photo: Tomáš Adamec
Czech Post says it expects a slender profit of 50 million crowns this year. That is around a fifth of the 241 profit declared for 2014. The public service mail operator says it is losing letter and parcel income to the tune of around 700 million crowns a year. And one of the biggest employers in the country has also been hit by a 3.5 percent pay rise. Director Martin Elkán says that investments are being savagely curbed as a result.

Počerady to stay within ČEZ fold

Photo: Štěpánka Budková
Power giant ČEZ says it will hold onto the massive Počerady coal-fired plant for now. A sale to the mining company Vršanska uhelná for at least 8.1 billion crowns was possible under a peace deal agreement between the companies in 2013. Another sale option becomes operable in 2019 and can be exercised by 2024. Počerady is one of the biggest coal fired power plants in the country with capacity of 1,000 MW.

Sign of the times at Transport Ministry

Photo: Olga Štrejbarová
The Transport Ministry is planning on introducing or updating traffic signs as of next January, which could include warning signs of frog or deer crossings. Others could designate rollerblade users and Segways, or areas where trucks will be banned from overtaking other vehicles. The ministry also wants to clarify some signs for motorists, such as a traffic sign designating horses but featuring a pictogram of a cow. The ministry said it may take up to 10 years to introduce some of the changes, writes iDnes. There has been no word so far on how much the changes will cost.