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Czech Watch - 22 May 2002

22.5.2002 10:50

The cabinet’s inner circle approved the sale of Nova Hut to LNM Holdings yesterday. LNM Holdings offered CZK 440mil for 67% share in NH. However, Including capital injection and assumption of debt worth of CZK 8.5bn, the investment will total CZK 17.5bn. The Dutch firm used its exclusivity in privatization talks for the NH, which expires on May 31.

Minister of transportation Jaromir Schling expects the contract between the Czech state and Israeli construction company Housing&Construction for building D47 highway from Lipnik to Poland to be signed in June. The reason for his optimism is the fact that costs for the highway were lowered from previously announced CZK 49.8bn. But the new sum was not mentioned.

German economy barely grew in first quarter. Bundesbanka’s first estimates showed a quarter-on-quarter increase of GDP by 0.25% following a 0.3% fall in last quarter of 2001. The rise was positively driven by export expansion but the domestic demand including capital investments still remains weak. Official first quarter data of Statistical office will be published on Thursday.

Chief of ECB Wim Duisenberg does not seem to be optimistic either. He considers the outlook of economy development and inflation uncertain. Speeches of central bankers are often very complicated, this time, Duisenberg’s words meant an easing of speculation on early rates hike.

U.K. April inflation measured by retail prices excluding mortgage interest rose 2.3% from a year ago, the same gain as in March. In comparison with March, the prices rose by 0.7%. The overall retail prices index increased by 0.7% and by 1.5% from a year ago following a 1.3% rise in March. Prices remain below the Bank of England’s target of 2.5%, thus the figure should ease some tension.

Hungarian central bank surprised markets yesterday by increasing its two-week deposit rate by 50 bps to 9.0%. The reasons for the increase were higher inflation forecast for this year and 2003 linked to a fast wage rise and oil prices.

Click here for the „Czech economic daily“ in .pdf format.

Radim Krejčí

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