Business News

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In Business News this week: the budget deficit is significantly lower than predicted; the prime minister signals an end to state support for building savings; the euro could be adopted as late as 2019, says the governor of the central bank; almost half the foreigners working in the Czech Republic would like to leave, citing trouble finding employment corresponding to their qualifications; and after years of growth, the number of mobile phone text messages sent on New Year’s Eve fell slightly.

Budget deficit less than envisaged by lower house

There was good news for the economy on Thursday, when Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek announced that the Czech Republic’s final budget shortfall for 2007 was markedly lower than expected. While the Chamber of Deputies had approved a deficit of CZK 91.9 billion, the actual gap was CZK 66.4 billion, the lowest in the history of the independent Czech state. That has been attributed to the unexpected tempo of growth, which led to higher tax revenues and allowed a decrease in welfare spending. Minister Kalousek said the total public-finance deficit would be just under 2 percent of GDP.

PM signals end to state support for building savings

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said in an interview published on Friday that he was ready to put an end to state support for building savings. He said people were using the system as a way to save in general, with the money not necessarily going on housing. Analysts in the field say the move would not have a significant impact on flat construction, Novinky.cz reported. Aleš Michl of Raiffeisenbank told the news website there was little reason to worry, as most home building is financed by mortgages. He added that abolishing support for building savings would also represent good news for the state coffers.

Don’t hold your breaths – euro could arrive in 2019, says central bank head

Photo: European Commission
The Czech Republic could adopt the common European currency as late as in 2019, the governor of the Czech National Bank, Zdeněk Tůma, told the latest edition of the weekly Ekonom. He said by then the Czech economy would be well able to tackle any problems or negative impacts, while at the same time benefiting from euro adoption. A convergence programme approved in March last year envisaged bringing in the euro in 2012; however, when the programme was updated in November no target date was included.

Many foreign workers dissatisfied with Czech Republic

While the Czech Republic has launched schemes aimed at helping workers from 12 states find jobs in this country, many of those foreigners already here are unsatisfied. In fact, suggests a poll conducted by the Academy of Sciences and quoted in Hospodářské noviny, only 48 percent of the foreigners working in the Czech Republic want to stay. The reason: those from outside the European Union are unable to find jobs corresponding to their education and experience.

Text message numbers fall at New Year’s after years of growth

Mobile phone network operators reported that the number of SMS text messages sent in the Czech Republic on New Year’s Eve and the early hours of New Year’s Day fell this time, after several years of growth. However, the country’s three mobile operators said the fall had been minor, and there had been an increase in the number of calls made and multi-media MMS messages sent.

Crown ended 2007 15 percent higher against dollar, 3.5 percent up against euro

With the dust having settled on last year, it is now very clear that the Czech currency the crown had a most successful 2007, coming twelfth in a table measuring the performance of all the world’s currencies. The crown rose by almost 15 percent to the dollar, after starting the year at 20.75 to the US currency, while it grew 3.5 percent against the euro, which was going for 27.53 twelve months ago.