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Czech Watch - 30 April 2002

30.4.2002 10:41

The Czech cabinet failed in Cesky Telecom privatization deal. The Czech dominant operator will not be sold till the parliamentary elections in June, the cabinet decided at its meeting yesterday. None of both bidders did not offer CZK 80bn for the stake which was targeted by the government. On the contrary the larger bid was less than CZK 60bn previously offered. Deutsche Bank and its partners offered slightly more than CZK 55bn (11.6 euros per share). Besides the low price, the cabinet was not satisfied with bank-led consortia, they would like to see major telecoms bidding instead.

The cabinet decided to issue bonds in value of CZK 37.65bn to cover state budget gaps in last two years. The deficit was CZK 46bn in 2000 and CZK 67.7bn last year.

A ministerial commission for the privatization of the largest steelworker Nova Huť did not arrive to any decision yesterday. The press has said that LNM Holdings was offering USD 3 for the company and another USD 175mil (CZK 6bn) for its revival. The cabinet is in exclusive talks with LNM Holdings until May 31.

The current account posted a surplus of EUR 2.1bn in the euro zone in February. In January the current accounted was in deficit of EUR 1.5bn. The trade surplus rose to EUR 8.2bn in February mainly driven by the boom in the USA.

French producer prices rose by 0.7% in March compared with previous month, fuelled by a jump in energy prices linked to tensions in the Middle East. Producer prices fell 0.7% year-on-year.

U.S. private incomes and spending rose by 0.4% m/m in March. Although the spending decelerated somewhat compared with February, the growth in the USA is not jeopardized. However, the development in private sector reflects anticipation of slower growth in second half of this year.

Gold reached its 2 year maximum yesterday when trading at USD 312 / ounce. The price was so high thanks to weakening USD and JPY. The weak USD increases attractiveness of gold for non-american investors.

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

Radim Krejčí

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