Czech foreign trade deficit widened to CZK 21.9bn from a revised CZK gap of 6bn in November. Exports dropped by 1.2%, y-o-y, imports decreased by 0.2%, y-o-y. The December trade deficit was the biggest since the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia. However, December figures include an import of one transport airplane worth CZK 2bn. As for the whole year 2001, the trade balance ended with a deficit of CZK 119bn (USD 3.5bn). The result is slightly better than in the previous year, mainly due to an improvement of terms of trade.
In a European Commission report on the economic development expected in the candidate countries for EU membership, unemployment in the Czech Republic is expected to fall from 8.9% - recorded at the end of 2001 - to 7.5% by the end of 2003. The country's GDP is expected to grow by 3.8% this year and 4.2% next year.
The South Korean car manufacturer, Hyundai, is considering building a new production facility worth tens of billions of Czech crowns in the Czech Republic. According to CzechInvest, talks are underway with the company and a final decision is to be made in the first half of this year.
The U.S. will record an annual budget deficit for the first time in five years as the recession, tax cuts and the war on terrorism cause the government to take in less money and spend more. President George W. Bush will project deficits of USD 106bn in the fiscal year that ends September 30 and USD 80bn next year in the budget he sends to Congress.
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