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In Business News: Czechs buy a total of 13.8 billion state savings bond units worth 15.3 billion crowns; the Czech Republic could lose roughly 22 billion crowns in EU subsidies in 2012; more than 60 percent of Czechs are in favour of further development in nuclear energy; the Czech Republic remains the most attractive country for foreign investors; at the pump, a drop in fuel prices.

Czechs buy 13.8 billion units of state savings bonds

Czechs bought a total of 13.8 billion state savings bond units worth 15.3 billion crowns during the spring bond issue, the Finance Ministry revealed on Friday. According to the ministry, investors showed the biggest interest in 1.5-year discount bonds, of which they purchased 7.5 billion units. Most orders were made between the 1,000 and 100,000 crown range, the finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, confirmed. He said the bond issues had attracted mainly middle income earners, adding that an overwhelming majority of those were over 50 years old, and had invested a part of their life savings in the state bonds. Unlike the previous pilot issue last autumn, public universities, professional chambers, public corporations, towns and regions were also able to buy-in this time around.

Czech Rep could lose roughly 22 billion crowns in EU subsidies

Photo: European Commission
The Czech Republic could lose roughly 22 billion crowns in EU subsidies in 2012 unless the European Commission resumes payments of subsidies to the country by the year’s end, the Czech news agency writes, citing a report by the Ministry for Regional Development. According to ČTK, six out of the eighteen programmes administered by Czech authorities have been described as risky. The ministry report is to be discussed by the cabinet next week. The threat to Czech programmes is related to EU rules under which it is necessary to draw from EU funds by the end of every year; when officials fail to do so, undrawn money is returned to the EU budget. In March, following a recommendation by the European Commission, the Czech government halted the sending of applications for subsidy payments to Brussels due to discrepancies in the Czech subsidy system. The EC originally gave the cabinet until the end of the June to correct the situation.

Poll: support for nuclear energy on rise

Photo: European Commission
More than 60 percent of Czechs are for in favour of the further development of nuclear energy in the country, a new poll by the STEM agency suggests, indicating that doubts over nuclear power raised by last year´s disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan have continued to drop. Support for nuclear energy among Czechs, however, has not reached previous levels of support such as in 2009 when more than 70 percent were in favour. The number of those who are confidant that electricity production by nuclear power plants could be covered by other sources has meanwhile decreased: fewer than half of those polled replied that other sources would be sufficient. More than three-quarters of Czechs also fear energy dependency, another factor that STEM took into account with regards to growing support for nuclear energy in the country.

Survey: Czech Republic most attractive country in Central & Eastern Europe for investors

The Czech Republic is the most attractive country for foreign investors for business activities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), a survey conducted by the Czech-German Chamber of Industry and Trade conjunction with German economic chambers in 14 countries, suggests. The Czech Republic ranked first despite the fact that it is the least transparent when it comes to public tenders. It is the seventh time in a row the country has placed first; neighbouring Poland placed second and Slovakia third. According to the survey more than 80 percent of companies would again invest in Central and Eastern Europe and 85 percent of them would choose the Czech Republic again. The Czech Republic gained above-average evaluation in the survey for a low tax burden, quality of infrastructure and accessibility of local suppliers. Major problems that continue to plague countries in the region are corruption and non-transparency in the public sector.

Fuel prices continue to fall, diesel at lowest since beginning of year

There was good news for motorists at the pump in the Czech Republic this week: fuel prices, including diesel, continued to fall. On average fuel prices fell by 30 hellers to 35.54 crowns per litre, new data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday reveals. The most popular fuel, Natural 95, fell to an average of 36.18 crowns per litre while diesel fell to 35.36. The drop in prices, analysts said, related to the current price of oil and the strengthening crown.