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Czech Watch - 13 May 2002

13.5.2002 10:24
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Consumer prices fell in April 0.1% m/m and rose 3.2% year-on-year. Thus, the inflation dropped to its lowest level since December 1999. Main driving factors were lower prices of gas, continuously falling food prices and after-season discounts of travel agencies. On the other side, substantially higher were prices of beer and fuelling. In April, prices fell for the second time in a row and their drop may go on. Year-on-year rate of inflation will likely be falling till July, when it would reach a level of 2% or less. The inflation will likely be under the inflation target band of CNB since May, where it may remain till the end of 2002 or possibly till April 2003.

Unemployment fell to 8.8% in April, that is a little bit less than we anticipated. 456 thousands people were without an employment in April, which is by 15ths less than in March but still by 23ths more than in April 2001 (the rate of unemployment was 8.3%). Whereas the unemployment in first two months of this year was just 0.3% above the level of the same period in 2001, the difference widened to 0.4% in March (9.1% vs. 8.7% in March 2001) and even to 0.5% in April.

Construction output fell 2.7% year-on-year in March, working days-adjusted output decreased by 1.6%. Average wages rose 8.7% and 4.7% in real terms in first three months of this year. However, labor productivity increased by 0.7% only. Unit labor costs rose 7.8%.

The most important players on the market with fuelling will not use an administration mistake of the Czech FinMin and denied asking for reimbursement of fuel tax. An error in the table of customs rates would enable the reimbursement. However, in case they would ask for the money, state budget would drop some CZK 20bn.

USA: Industrial production prices fell by 0.2% in April (-2.0% y/y) thanks to by 3.2% lower prices in a sector producing food. Energy prices and crudes rose 2.5%.

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

Radim Krejčí

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