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Czech Watch - 18 September 2000

18.9.2000 8:45
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GDP grew 1.9% in Q2/00, less than the government hoped. The ministry of finance pencilled in 2.5% in Q2/00 and that would "justify" increasing the 2001 GDP growth forecast to 3.5% and that, in turn, would boost budget revenues by CZK 3 bil. Now the MoF indicated that while the growth was indeed slower, the investment grew rapidly and that, surprise, surprise, might lift the GDP growth in 2001 to 3.5%. And all that for miserable three billions…
The prime minister office has another concerns. Acording to a local investigative journal Respekt, the PM's chief advisor, Miroslav Slouf not only accepts donations, bends the rules for public procurements and writes nasty things about other politicians, but he also befriends a person allegedly involved in a murder of a US anti-drug officer and jailed for falsification. This person accompanied Mr. Slouf to Iraq and that might be why the government was so hysterical about publishing the list of people on the trip to Iraq. Now, prime minister trip to the US might be cancelled. With advisors like that, the PM does not really need other troublemakers.
The Czech koruna weakened on Friday to all-time-low 41.14 CZK/USD. Interestingly, it lost vis-a-vis the weakening euro as well, slipping to 35.50 CZK/EUR. The euro, meanwhile, is on its way towards yet another "testing level", i.e. 0.85 USD/EUR.
Czech bonds fell massively on Friday morning, with a major seller on long-term government bonds, despite the fact that Q2 GDP figures released that morning were in line with the expectations. The longest 6.40/10 fell as much as 45 bps compared to Thursday's close prices, however, some bids appeared during the day, and most issues recovered back to the opening prices.
Current benchmark figures: MoF 6.75/05 100.45-75 (-10 bps), MoF 6.30/07 96.60-90 (-10 bps), MoF 6.40/10 95.60-90 (unchanged).

(Ondrej Schneider and Dalimil Vyskovsky)


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