Business News


In Business News this week: Czech unemployment rates continue to plummet; the Prague Stock Exchange enjoys record highs; the government approves a euro adoption plan but fails to set a date for the introduction of the currency, and poor barley harvests could mean trouble for Czech brewers.

Czech unemployment rate continues to fall

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic fell in March for the twentieth month in a row. Only 7.3% of the workforce was without work last month, which puts unemployment in the country at its lowest level since the beginning of 2004. Nevertheless, there are major differences in unemployment rates between different regions of the Czech Republic. Prague has the lowest rate of just 2.6% while the Most area in north Bohemia has the most people out of work with 18.3% percent unemployment. Experts also warn that labour shortages in places like Prague could result in a sharp increase in wage levels in these areas.

Prague stock exchange sets new records

Prague Stock Exchange enjoyed record highs this week with its PX index rising to 1,748.8 points on Thursday, the fifth record set in just six days. Overall, the index has gained twelve percent since the start of the year. Analysts say the Prague Stock Exchange is benefiting from widespread investor interest in central Europe and from the growth of western European bourses in general. This week share trading turnover at the stock exchange in Prague rose to 5.6 billion Czech crowns or approximately 270 million dollars.

Czech government approves euro adoption plan

Photo: European Commission
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek announced on Wednesday that the Czech government has approved a plan for the adoption of the single European currency - the euro - but has yet to name a specific date for the switch. Mr Topolanek said that a euro adoption date could only be set once its proposed package of financial reforms had been passed by parliament. The finance ministry had previously said 2012 was a realistic date for the introduction of the euro in the Czech Republic, but that the country's soaring public spending deficit would have to be cut before the currency could be adopted.

Czech construction industry booming

The Czech building industry is enjoying a major boom. According to the Czech Statistical Office, construction output in the country rose by 32.5 percent in February, following on from a 29.2 percent in January. Reasons given for the surge in building include increased demand for housing, investments in the country's transport infrastructure and unseasonably warm weather, which meant that construction firms were able to continue working on projects right through the winter.

Poor barely harvests threaten quality of Czech beer

The quality of the Czech Republic's much vaunted beers could be under threat, experts have warned. A series of poor harvests means that Czech brewers are suffering a shortage of the high-grade barley they use for malting and making beer. If things don't improve soon, Czech beer producers may be forced to use inferior barley for their brews, which could have a big impact on their unique taste. It could be a long-term problem for the Czech brewing industry as some experts blame the poor barley harvests on weather fluctuations caused by climate change