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Czech Watch - 9 May 2002

9.5.2002 10:42
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The Czech National Bank published on Tuesday data on foreign exchange reserves as of April 31. The value of reserves increased from USD 14.76bn in March (EUR 16.92bn) to USD 16.03bn (EUR 17.78bn) at the end of April. Thus, the CNB’s foreign exchange reserves jumped by almost EUR 900mil or CZK 23bn.

Eurozone’s last quarter 2001 GDP growth was confirmed at –0.2% compared with previous quarter. At the same time, the European Commission lowered its GDP forecasts. The Commission expects the GDP to expand by 0.4 to 0.7% in the second quarter of this year and they kept their forecast for the first quarter at +0.2 to +0.5%.

Slovakian consumer prices rose by 0.4% m/m, +3.6% y/y respectively. The April’s inflation was mainly driven by energy costs (prices of fuel jumped 7.5%). The same factor will influence inflation data in other countries including the CR.

Hungarian industrial output increased 2.5% m/m in March, it rose 4.2% year-on-year. The rise was caused by higher export to the EU.

Germany: rate of unemployment fell to 9.7% in April from 10.0% in March. However, seasonally adjusted figures posted a 6ths rise of jobless people (3.974mil), which was a big surprise for markets. The labor market has been hit by difficulties, rate of unemployment stood at 9.5% in the same period of last year.

In the United States, labor productivity increased by 8.5% in first quarter 2002 (annualized quarter-on-quarter change), using a Czech measures the productivity would rise by 4.1%. Production rose by 1.2% and number of employees fell. Number of hours worked dropped 2.8%.

Fed left its benchmark interest rates unchanged as expected. At its Tuesday’s meeting, FOMC decided to leave its key rate at 1.75% (40-year low).

U.S. President George W. Bush nominated two new members of FOMC (Fed’s managerial board) yesterday. The new members are to be Ben Bernake from Princeton University and Donald Kohn, an employee of Fed.

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

Radim Krejčí

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