Industrial output rose year-on-year by 5.8% in February. The same index adjusted by number of working days had no importance. Sales in industry grew by 3.8%. Direct export sales grew even more - by 13.7%. But economists are unhappy about employment in the industry, which fell 2%. Labor productivity was 6.0% up (y/y) whereas the average monthly real wage grew 2.9% and 6.9% in nominal terms. The industrial output and partial statistics support the opinion that the Czech industry could have broken the term of “weaker” foreign demand. On the other hand a new alien appears – strong CZK.
The Czech crown exchange rate dropped below the psychological level of 30.0 CZK/EUR yesterday. At 14:45, for the first time, we could see on screens bids on CZK at 29,97 CZK/EUR. Against USD the crown strengthened to 34.08 CZK/USD. Heavy impact on the development of the crown had the CNB’s meeting and its “no monetary decision” conclusion.
The Enlargement Commissioner Guenther Verheugen stated yesterday that the so-called Benes decrees belong to history and are not an obstacle to the Czech Republic's EU entry. Nevertheless, the Czech Parliament will discuss the decrees at its April meeting.
Is the Czech automobile market already saturated? The Czech car importers’ association said that the sale of new passenger cars in the Czech republic fell 3.4% to 34,141 units in the 1Q of 2002. Most of cars were sold by domestic Skoda Auto, however its sales dropped 9.6% to 17,869 units. Skoda’s market share fell to 52.3% from 55.9% in the first quarter of 2001.
Hungarian consumer inflation hit record level in foregoing 15 months, when reaching +5.9% in March vs. +6.2% in February. CPI rose monthly 0.7% following1.0% rise in February. To reach the lowest level since March 1987 helped the appreciation of the Hungarian forint. The HUF strengthened by 10% in last year.
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