Finance Ministry upgrades GDP outlook

The Czech Ministry of Finance has upgraded its economic performance outlook for this year. The ministry expects GDP to grow by 3.7 percent in 2001, up from the previously forecast 3.6 percent. It has maintained its prediction for 2002 of 3.8 percent GDP growth. The ministry says the Czech Republic finds itself in a different stage of the business cycle than Western Europe, and the coming recession in the United States is expected to have only a marginal impact on the Czech economy. However, there remain some unpredictable factors, such as the development of foreign trade and the possible impact of the world-wide decline on the operation of production facilities of foreign companies in the Czech Republic. Both the Czech National Bank and the IMF are more cautious in their predictions than the Ministry of Finance, expecting this year's GDP growth to reach 3.6 and 3.3 percent respectively.