Business News

Photo: CTK

In Business News this week: following panic selling earlier in the week, the Prague Stock Exchange sees its biggest rise in almost 15 years; the number of credit cards issued rises by a whopping 40 percent in one year; Czech Railways begins selling Sky Europe flight tickets at selected train stations; and cinema takings reach record figures, with a third of viewers attending Czech movies.

Prague Stock Exchange rallies at end of turbulent week

Photo: CTK
As all over the world, all eyes this week have been on the stock market here in the Czech Republic. And the Prague Stock Exchange has been turbulent, with panic selling earlier in the week. However – boosted by positive signs from America, and the US Federal Reserve interest rate cut – Thursday saw a strong rally, with a rise of 8.42 percent; that was the fastest increase since autumn 1993, when the bourse was still in its infancy. Growth slowed to less than 1 percent on Friday morning.

Credit card numbers up by 40 percent in one year

The number of credit cards issued in the Czech Republic increased by a whopping 40 percent in 2007, Hospodářské noviny reported. A record 400,000 cards were issued by the country’s biggest banks last year, bringing the total to 1.25 million. Central Bank data quoted by the newspaper suggests that credit card debt topped CZK 10 billion at the end of November last year, a three-fold increase in two years. The trend is expected to continue this year; for instance, Česká spořitelna bank is hoping to achieve a two-thirds increase in credit cards issued.

Poll: most Czechs unfazed by living in debt

Meanwhile, living on credit seems to hold no fear for most Czechs: a poll conducted by the STEM agency in January suggests 68 percent think it is quite normal to take a loan from a bank. Young people seem rather more comfortable with the idea of living in debt: nearly 80 percent of respondents said they would be willing to take a loan, compared to 55 percent of the over 60s.

Czech Railways to sell Sky Europe flights at selected stations

Czech Railways is to begin selling flights on the airline Sky Europe at the ticket offices of 20 selected train stations around the country. Under a deal announced by the two companies this week flights will be sold at an advantageous price – on condition that passengers buy a rail ticket to Prague’s Ruzyně airport. Czech Railways had a similar arrangement with Czech Airlines in the past, but the latter pulled out as the deal brought little tangible result in terms of ticket sales.

Czech produced films top box-office as cinema sales reach new high

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Cinemas in the Czech Republic generated sales of CZK 1.2 billion in 2007, the highest figure ever, according to information posted on their website this week by the Union of Film Distributors. Audience figures were up by 1.3 million to 12.8 million – the highest number since 1994, when cinema attendance started to decline in the wake of the launch of the commercial station TV Nova. One third of cinema audiences in 2007 attended Czech movies; indeed the domestically-produced Empties and I Served the King of England were the two biggest hits at the Czech box-office. The most popular import was Shrek the Third.