In Business News: uncertainty remains about when the Czech Republic will introduce the euro, after the government approved an adoption plan - without a target date; the central bank surprised many with a second quarter-point interest rate hike in two months; the average salary was 7.4 percent higher in the second quarter than in the same period in 2006; changes to the labour code are intended to increase flexibility; power giant CEZ hooks up with Hungary's MOL; and Ikea plans to double its regional presence over the next decade.
Euro adoption plan approved - minus target date
National Bank raises interest rates for second time in two months
The board of the Czech National Bank this week surprised many by voting to raise the benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 3:25. It is the third quarter-point hike so far this year, and Czech interest rates now stand at their highest level in five years. However, they are still the lowest in the European Union.
Average salary up 7.4 percent in second quarter
The average salary in the Czech Republic stood at CZK 21,462 (just over USD 1,000) in the second quarter of this year - a rise of 7.4 percent on the same period in 2006. Taking inflation into account, the real wage increase was 4.9 percent. Analysts have attributed the rise to the much reported shortage of labour in many areas of the Czech economy.
Liberalisation of aspects of labour code gets broad backing
CEZ forms alliance with Hungary's MOL
The most profitable Czech company, power giant CEZ, is hooking up with Hungarian oil and natural gas concern MOL, in a new strategic partnership, it was announced this week. The alliance follows months of talks been the governments of the Czech Republic and Hungary, according to Hospodarske noviny. The CEZ-MOL deal is being seen as an attempt by two smaller states to reduce dependence on Russian energy supplies.
Ikea sales and customer numbers up 17 percent
The Swedish furniture giant Ikea says its sales in the Czech Republic rose by 17-percent in the year ending on August 31. Ikea's four stores in the Czech Republic also recorded a 17-percent increase in the number of customers served, said a company representative. The flat-pack pioneer is planning to double its number of outlets in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in the next decade.