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Czech Watch - 21 March 2002

21.3.2002 9:26
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Current account in the Czech Republic reached a deficit of CZK 25.4bn (EUR 766 mil) in the fourth quarter 2001. It was by CZK 22bn lower than a year earlier. For the whole year, the deficit was CZK 101.0bn (EUR 2,962 mil). The financial account recorded an inflow of foreign capital worth CZK 66.7bn in the fourth quarter and to CZK 153.3bn in 2001 as a whole. Foreign direct investment recorded an inflow of CZK 64.6bn in the fourth quarter and CZK 183.3bn for the whole year. The FDI inflow in Q4 was mostly associated with the privatization of state assets.

Pavel Stepanek, a CNB board member, alleged yesterday that CNB and the government succeeded in stabilization of the koruna's exchange rate. However, the koruna continued to appreciate yesterday and touched its all-time minimum at 31.28 CZK/EUR.

The EU has also asked for compensation from the United States due to U.S. duties on steel imports. The EU has calculated the cost of the U.S. duties at EUR 2.5bn a year. Moreover, a spokesman for the European Commission added that the EU is ready to install defenses to protect its own market against a flood of steel barred from the United States.

IWH, a German research institute, announced yesterday its upgrade of German GDP forecasts. So far, it expected a GDP growth in 2002 at 0.6%, now it forecast 0.8%. In 2003, the German GDP should increase by 2.6%.

The rate of unemployment in Slovakia dropped to 19.7% in January to 19.6% in February. On the other hand, Poland economy and its labor market performs much worse - the rate of unemployment increased to all-time high at 18.1% in February from 18.0% in January.

The Czech statistical office releases Czech GDP figures today. Our forecasts are: 2.5% (y-o-y) for the fourth quarter 2001 and 3.4% for the whole year 2001.

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

Radim Krejčí

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