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Czech Watch – 26 September 2001

26.9.2001 11:25

- The 4K asked three CSSD deputies and their four colleagues from the ODS to resign from the supervisory board of the Ceska konsolidacni agentura (CKA, the successor to the state-owned bailout agency Konsolidacni banka) or to give up their posts in the Chamber of Deputies. Hana Marvanova, the chairwoman of the Freedom Union, said that otherwise the 4K would propose in the parliament removal of the deputies from the CKA. "The arbitrary change in the statutes of the CKA supervisory board is absolutely unacceptable. The sum of the rewards the ODS and Social Democrat deputies have given to themselves is the height of arrogance, but also just the tip of the iceberg," Marvanova said. Later on the day, members of the CKA supervisory board cut their proposed bonuses to 45 % of the salary paid to the CKA’s board of directors from the originally planned 75 %. Furthermore, the three concerned CSSD deputies said that they did not and would not get any bonuses for their work for the CKA. ODS deputy Vlastimil Tlusty announced that he would give the money to charity. CKA's main task is to administer and sell claims and its existence is limited by the year 2011.

- Finance Minister Jiri Rusnok estimates FDI inflow in the Czech Republic to reach about USD 5bn in 2001. In 2001H, the volume of FDI in the Czech Republic amounted to about USD 2.3bn and for the whole of 2000 the sum was USD 4.6bn. Referring to the experience of Austria, Finland or Sweden, where FDI rose before their EU entry and the inflow continued after it, Rusnok hopes that the inflow does not necessarily has to weaken in the future. According to the government agency CzechInvest, the Czech Republic is the leader among transition economies measured by per capita FDI inflow. In 2000, the Czech Republic attracted USD 2200 in FDI p.c. From 1990 to 2000, the country received FDI worth USD 22.2bn, out of which 60 % arrived since 1998. Dutch companies invested 29 % of the total, German firms account for 26 % and Austrians for 12 %. The favorite targets for investors are the electronics and car industries.

- Germany imported by 33.7 % less electricity from the Czech Republic in July 2001 compared to July last year. The reason for the sharp fall was E.ON Energie´s decision to stop electricity purchases from CEZ that is almost the sole exporter of Czech electricity. E.ON stopped buying electricity from CEZ because its business partners criticized its cooperation with the operator of Temelin nuclear power plant. In the first seven months of 2001, both exports and imports of electricity in the Czech Republic grew year-on-year, and so did the trade surplus in this trade segment.

- Some 300 employees of financial offices demonstrated in the center of Prague for higher pay and better working conditions. Major demands of the demonstrators were put on a list to be handed to the government and to the parliament. Deputy finance minister Ivona Legierska said the fulfillment of the demands depended on possibilities of the state budget. According to demonstrators, a financial clerk with long experience receives pay that is only slightly above the average pay in the country. The financial clerks want the government to create a concept of development of financial bodies by end April 2002 with regard to the Czech Republic's EU entry and to bring their wages to the EU level. Financial offices in the Czech Republic have about 15t employees.

- The Czech crown firmed against the dollar on Tuesday afternoon owing to the impact of fresh consumer confidence data reported from the U.S. CZK/USD strengthened to 37.05/07, up from 37.42/44 late on Monday. Vis-a-vis the euro, the trading was technical and rather calm. CZK/EUR closed at 34.17/20, flat from late Monday’s 34.16/19.

- Bond prices grew on Tuesday, most probably owing to a sharp drop in oil prices on the world markets and falling bond yields in Europe. The longest state 6.95/16 benchmark gained 45bps to 103.30/60, yielding 6.58/55 %. The state 6.75/05 bond dipped 8bps to 103.10/35, yielding 5.70/62 %.

Late on September 25 bond yield Late on September 24
State 6.75/05103.10/355.70/62103.18/43
State 6.95/16103.30/606.58/55102.85/15

(Martin Kupka)

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