In Business News this week: the Czech Republic posts record export figures; the country is set to produce a million cars a year, says an industry leader; the Czech economy continues to grow at over 6 percent; unemployment falls further to 6.4 percent; Czech firms are among Europe's worst when it comes to paying their debts on time; and Czech female managers make half as much as their male counterparts.
Record exports in first four months of 2007
Photo: European Commission
The Czech Republic posted record export figures in the first four months of 2007, with a year-on-year rise of over 17 percent, rather giving the lie to predictions that the Czech economic boom had peaked last year. The great export results have been attributed to high demand for Czech cars, machinery and electronics.
Czech Republic set to make million cars a year
Photo: archive of CRo 7 - Radio Prague
The importance of the automobile industry to the Czech economy cannot be underestimated and there are no signs of that changing. In fact, production could reach a million cars this year, or next year at the latest, the head of the country's automobile industry association, Vratislav Kulhanek, said this week. His comments followed an announcement by the biggest car producer in the country, Skoda Auto, that it was upping production at its plant in Mlada Boleslav in order to keep up with demand.
Economy sees 6.1 percent growth in first quarter
In other positive news, the Czech economy grew by 6.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, keeping up the quick tempo from the final quarter of 2006. Analysts say the main motor of that growth has been consumer spending.
Unemployment falls to 6.4 percent
And on top of that, unemployment in the Czech Republic fell to 6.4 percent in May, down from 6.8 percent the previous month. As always, Prague has the lowest jobless rate, with 2.4 percent out of work. The worst hit areas are Most in north Bohemia with 17.5 percent and Karvina in north Moravia with 15.2 percent unemployed.
Czech firms among slowest in Europe in paying debts on time
Czech companies are among the worst in Europe when it comes to paying their debts on time, suggests a poll conducted by the Intrum Justitia agency. Firms in the Czech Republic are on average 25 days late with payment, compared to 15 days in Germany and 7 in Finland and Sweden. What's more, this country shows the highest losses on payments in Europe - 3.5 percent of the total sum on invoices is never paid. That makes life difficult for small and medium-sized companies in particular.
Female managers paid over 50 percent less than male counterparts
Women in managerial positions in the Czech Republic are paid over 50 percent less than their male counterparts, according to figures released this week by the Czech Statistical Office. While male managers earn over 60,000 crowns a month on average, female bosses get just under 30,000. The huge gap has been attributed to the fact that women tend to have lower management posts, though analysts say discrimination could also be a factor.