Czech economy records biggest Q1 drop since 2010

Illustrative photo: David Castillo Dominici/

Czech economic growth slowed by two percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to revised data released by the Czech Statistics Office this week.

Illustrative photo: David Castillo Dominici/
The refined estimate confirmed the deepest year-on-year decrease in Czech GDP since the beginning of 2010. Nevertheless, it is still an improvement on the first estimate, which predicted a year-on-year drop of 2.2 percent.

Compared to the previous quarter, GDP fell by 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020, when adjusted for price effects and seasonally adjusted. According to the Czech Statistics Office, the negative GDP development stemmed from lower capital formation and a decrease in external demand.

The level of gross value added decreased by 2.5 percent on the previous quarter and by 1.3 percent year-on-year, mainly in the manufacturing sector and in the group of economic activities of trade, transportation, and accommodation and food service activities. A positive contribution came mainly from construction, information and communication.

On the demand side, the first quarter drop was influenced by lower capital formation and by external demand. The 2 percent year-on-year drop was negatively affected by investment expenditure and external demand. A positive contribution came from the increase in general government expenditure.

The international trade balance at current prices decreased by CZK 2.9 billion year-on-year in the first quarter to CZK 79.2 bn. Compared to the previous quarter, exports of goods and services decreased by 2.6 percent, while in the year-on-year comparison, it dropped by 2.4 percent.

The year-on-year decrease of exports was affected mainly by trade in electronic and optical products, machinery and equipment, and transport equipment.

Imports of goods and services dropped by 3.5 percent, quarter-on-quarter and 2.1 percent year-on-year.

The year-on-year development of imports was affected mainly by a decrease in the import of crude oil and natural gas, basic metals, machinery and equipment, and sub deliveries for the automotive industry.