Czech GDP nominally up 700 percent since fall of communism

Photo: Tomáš Adamec / Czech Radio

Czech gross domestic product has increased nominally by around 700 percent since the fall of communism, according to data from the Czech Statistics Office and the calculations of analysts cited by the Czech News Agency.

Photo: Tomáš Adamec / Czech Radio
While Czech GDP was CZK 672 billion in 1990, in current prices it is now more than CZK 5.3 trillion.

In real terms, after taking into account price developments and other indicators, the economy has roughly doubled since 1989, the Czech News Agency said.

Citizens’ purchasing power has risen two and a half times as the country has become a standard market economy over the last three decades.

Česká spořitelna economist Michal Skořepa said one of the strongest proofs of the emancipation of the Czech economy has been the fact that many domestically made products have ceased to be perceived as inferior in the Czech Republic itself.

The chief economist of Raiffeisenbank, Helena Horská, pointed out that citizens’ purchasing power had increased two and a half times despite rising prices and cost of living.

Mr. Skořepa said there was, however, one thing that had not changed: The Czech Republic remains strongly oriented toward manufacturing.

While this is often understood as an expression of local tradition, it is a bad thing for the economy, he said, adding that there should be increased support for the development of tourism and other services.

Pavel Sobíšek of UniCredit Bank pointed out another aspect of the Czech economy that is little changed: The number of economically active persons has stayed virtually the same despite population growth of around a quarter of a million.

Photo: archive of Czech Government
Around 1.4 million people are currently working in manufacturing, compared to 1.5 million 30 years ago.

There has been a significant fall in the number of workers in the agriculture sector, while the number of self-employed now stands at 750,000, compared to 110,000 in 1990.

Mr. Sobíšek told the Czech News Agency there had been a marked change in the structure of household spending. At the end of the communist era some 27 percent of Czechs’ total spending was on food and non-alcoholic drinks. Today the figure is less than 18 percent.

Housing accounted for 16 percent of people’s incomes back in the day. In 2019 it stands at nearly 26 percent.

Inflation was at its highest in the last three decades in 1991, when it hit 56.6 percent on the back of currency devaluation and price easing. The lowest annual level of inflation, 0.1 percent, was recorded in 2003.

Between 2014 and 2016 inflation stood at below 1.0 percent. In 2018 it was 2.1 percent.