The Czech January trade deficit narrowed from a year ago, as the terms of trade improved. The trade gap slimmed by CZK 1bn to CZK 6.6bn. Exports dropped by 2.6%, year-on-year, imports decreased by 3.3% as the strength of the Czech currency and a drop in oil prices reduced import prices.
The French economy shrank in the fourth quarter for the first time in last five years. Gross domestic product fell 0.1% from the third quarter. Eurozone's second-largest economy grew 2.0% last year from a revised 3.6% in 2000, the government statistics office Insee said. Household consumption grew 1.1%, gross fixed capital creation decreased by 0.1%. Exports fell 4.7%, imports dropped by 3.8%.
Minister of transport and communications proposed to pay CZK 90,000 to owners of cars older than 15 years in case of their decision to scrap an old car and to buy a new one. There is 1.25 mil cars older than 15 years in the Czech Republic. Thus, this proposal could put a burden of CZK 112bn on shoulders of the state budget.
Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has refused to back down after making the comments, and renewed his criticism of the Benes decrees. Orban attacked the principle of collective guilt which he said lay behind the Benes decrees. The dispute over the decrees has already led to some tension between the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Hungary has been forced to cancel a planned summit of central European countries.
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