Business News


In Business News this week: inflation in the Czech Republic stands at 5 percent and is set to rise further, while salaries should grow next year by almost 8 percent; unemployment is at a nine-year low of 5.6 percent; Skoda is about to start rolling out Octavias that run on alcohol, but only for the Swedish market; Seattle follows Portland’s lead and introduces Czech-made trams; sales of organic food have doubled and are set to keep doubling annually for the next couple of years; and the Czech National Bank is minting more coins, due to uncertainty over when the country will adopt the euro.

Inflation reaches 5 percent, highest level in over six years

Inflation was at 5 percent in the Czech Republic in November, the highest rate in over six years. Acceleration from 4 percent the previous month has been put down to rises in the price of foodstuffs and, to a lesser extent, beer and fuels. Analysts say inflation should exceed 6 percent next year. However, wages should grow by more – reports say experts, employers and unions all agree that salaries look set to increase by almost 8 percent in 2008.

Jobless rate down to 5.6 percent

Unemployment in November stood at 5.6 percent, which is the lowest rate in nine years. Almost 350,000 Czechs were out of work last month, with an average of 2.4 applicants per position. Analysts say the jobless rate should fall further next year.

Skoda making Octavias that run on ethanol

Skoda Auto is next month to begin producing Octavia cars which run on fuel containing 85% ethanol, Hospodarske noviny reported. But they will only be sold on the Swedish market, where bio-fuels receive tax relief and have been popular for decades. Skoda board member Martin Jahn said the company would like to sell the alcohol fuelled Octavias here in the Czech Republic, but the country lacks a network of ethanol filling stations.

Czech trams introduced in Seattle after becoming hit in Portland

Photo: CTK
Trams made by the Czech company Inekon have gone into operation in the US city of Seattle. The manager of the project said one of the main reasons Seattle had decided on the Czech trams was their success in the nearby city of Portland. Inekon say they are hoping the Seattle deal, worth USD 10 million, will increase the firm’s profile in the US even further.

Organic food sales double and should keep doubling annually

Sales of organic foods in the Czech Republic should total CZK 1.3 billion this year, Hospodarske noviny reported. That figure represents a rise of almost 100 percent on sales in 2006. And the trend looks set to continue; Tom Vaclavik of consultants Green marketing told the newspaper sales of organic foods should keep doubling annually in the next couple of years.

Central bank minting more coins due to euro adoption uncertainty

Photo: CTK
The Czech National Bank is set to mint more coins in 2008 than in recent years, due to uncertainty over when the country will adopt the euro, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. After producing no ten- or fifty-crown coins in 2007, the central bank will issue ten million of each in 2008, a spokesperson said. At one stage the Czech Republic had been planning to introduce the common European currency in 2009 or 2010, but this year Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek refused to commit even to a revised target of 2012.