Political situation is getting tenser by a day: Minister of Finance, Pavel Mertlik, is under pressure over the IPB sale from the ODS and even some of his CSSD colleagues are turning against him. As to make himself more popular, Mr. Mertlik suggested that taxes would need to go up after 2002 in order to keep fiscal deficit in check.
Ministry of Finance has one more fight on its cards: on Wednesday it will try to forestall apparently insane privatization plan of the Ministry of Industry and Trade that wants to sell energy dominant producer and six regional distribution to a single investor (and similarly it wants to deal with the gas industry). Although the MIT's idea verges on lunacy and would probably conflict the EU's rules, one should not underestimate wily Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Gregr.
The Czech koruna lost vis-a-vis the intervention-propelled euro to 35.60 CZK/EUR. As the euro reacted to a massive intervention against the dollar, it strengthened to 0,88 USD/EUR. The dollar eased vis-a-vis the koruna as well, to 40,30 CZK/USD (from 41,40 CZK/USD on Thursday).
Bond market was very quiet again on Friday, though morning was slightly bearish on some issues. Old tax Konsolidacni dropped a spread, long term governments moved down by few basis points only. IRS were stable during the day, though we have seen certain interests on both bid and offer sides, in fact not much different from previous days. EUR intervention helped the bonds from further falling, some of the shorter issues have been in demand after the intervention. Given the current situation we are not very bearish, however recommendation is range trading for next few days.
Current benchmark figures: MoF 6.75/05 100.30-60 (+ 5bps), MoF 6.30/07 96.40-70 (unchanged), MoF 6.40/10 95.40-70 (unchanged).
(Ondrej Schneider and Dalimil Vyskovsky)