- Deputies approved the second version of the state budget bill for 2002 in the first reading on Friday. The bill was supported by 134 of 194 deputies present. The draft budget proposes a deficit of CZK 46.2bn with revenues of CZK 690.4bn and expenditures of CZK 736.6bn. The planned deficit is six billion lower compared to the first version. The Chamber of Deputies’ committees will now discuss the budgets of individual ministries and it is expected that the Chamber will pass the budget bill by the end of this year. The new version of the budget allots more money to universities, the Defence and Interior Ministries and regions. It also includes CZK 8.5bn, which will be paid to the state by the CSOB for taking over the IPB bad loans, in the budget revenues. The lower deficit was achieved through the lowering of the estimated losses of the CKA. 4K leader Karel Kuehnl said that the government had again included one-off revenues in the budget, that it had failed to take into account the possible economic slowdown and that it had postponed the repayment of debts to the future.
- Nova Hut’s (NH) spokeswoman Sylva Mazurkova told CTK that the dispute over the settlement of damage that arose from steelmaker NH's rescinding of a contract with US company Kaiser BV for a minimill for NH will be resolved by a mediator. The mediator has not been appointed yet but should start working before the end of 2001. In early May, NH withdrew from a contract with Kaiser BV, concerning the supply of a rolling track for the minimill, because of alleged Kaiser's failure to meet its obligations. NH demand USD 46m in damages from Kaiser. Trial operation of the minimill was scheduled for June 1999 but the actual start of the minimill´s operation at full capacity is likely only at the end of the year. The delays have cost Nova hut several billion crowns.
- The Chamber of Deputies passed the government-sponsored amendment to the customs law, which should simplify the existing customs procedures and harmonize the Czech legislation with those in the EU. The amendment sets, inter alia, more detailed rules for customs officers and rules for admission of goods to the Czech market. In the draft amendment, the government proposes, for instance, that entrepreneurs be allowed to import goods without having to go through the customs control each time. Instead of that, they will send monthly customs declaration statements to the customs authority.
- CTK reported that the political weekly Respekt has lodged a complaint against Premier Milos Zeman over violence against a group of inhabitants and against an individual and over incitement to hatred of a group of people. At a press conference on October 22, Zeman told journalists that the government decided to lodge a complaint against Respekt and to demand an apology in reaction to an article in which the weekly accused the government of corruptive behavior. He added that also individual ministers would sue the weekly for an alleged harm done to their good name and "demand a relevant financial compensation so that Respekt cease to exist at last." Zeman specified the compensation at CZK 10m per minister. Under the relevant provision of the penal code, a crime is committed when someone threatens a group of inhabitants with death, bodily harm or damage exceeding one million crowns. Vaclav Klaus said he did not consider the government's intention to jointly sue Respekt as an attack against freedom of the press.
- The Czech crown had opened at 33.34 on Friday and then slightly weakened up to 33.38 CZK/EUR. For the rest of the day, the crown was moving mostly within a narrow range of 33.35-33.39 CZK/EUR. Technical factors dominated the market, no important fundaments were reported either from Czech economy or from the EU. Against the dollar, the crown had opened at 37.48 and then oscillated between 37.33 and 37.50 CZK/USD. Considerable PPI fall in the U.S. did not have a significant impact on the crown/dollar market. CZK/EUR was trading at 33.31/34 late on Friday, up from 33.37/40 on Thursday evening. CZK/USD closed at 37.31/33 on Friday, up from late Thursday’s 37.48/50.
- Bond prices dropped considerably again on Friday. The nervous market showed high volatility. The state bond 6.95/16 was not oversubscribed considerably, the average yield reached in its auction was 5.54 %. Bond market ignored the news on state budget draft approval by deputies in the first reading. The longest state 6.95/16 benchmark lost 175bps on Friday to 113.80/10, yielding 5.52/49 %. The state 6.75/05 bond dipped 30bps compared to Thursday’s close to 105.85/10, yielding 4.76/68 %.
|Late on November 9|| bond yield ||Late on November 8|
| State 6.75/05||105,85/10||4.76/68||106.15/40|
| State 6.95/16||113,80/10||5.52/49||115,55/85|