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Czech Watch - 10 September 2001

10.9.2001 11:04

Czech Republic asked EU to be given a full-fledged membership rather than an observer status at a convention that would decide on the future form of European integration from next year. Chief Czech negotiator with the EU and deputy foreign minister Pavel Telicka told CTK that this would have a positive impact on the public opinion at home and it would not give anything negative to the EU because the convention will not adopt any political decisions.

The Central Executive Committee of the Social Democrats nominated the party chairman Vladimir Spidla for the future premier. The election was unanimous.

ODS declared it would not support the government’s draft state budget for 2002 in the first reading in the parliament. The principle reason is that part of draft budget revenues either cannot occur at all or in a considerable reduced volume (like expected CZK 20.4bn debt repayment from Russia or additional revenues of the National Property Fund amounting to CZK 21bn). Vladimir Tlusty, a member of the Lower Chamber's budget committee and ODS shadow finance minister said that in submitting an unrealistic draft budget, the CSSD cabinet violated an addendum to the ODS-CSSD “opposition agreement”. Under the agreement, the ODS keeps the CSSD minority government in power in exchange for a portion of political and economic influence. Specifically, the ODS considers unacceptable that the cabinet added a Konsolidacni banka´s loss of CZK 40bn to the CZK 10bn budget deficit limit agreed by the ODS and the CSSD for 2002. Tlusty warned CSSD that his party was ready to discuss another budget version not only with the government but also other parties. The cabinet is obliged to submit the final version to parliament by the end of September. The Chamber of Deputies will discuss the bill in the first reading in October.

According to the head of the Food Chamber (PK), Miroslav Koberna, preparation of the Czech food industry for the EU accession will cost CZK 15-40bn. The money should help primarily the segments with low return on investment, as those will be subject to the EU's strictest pressures. The strongest pressure is put on animal segments - the meat industry, poultry processing and dairies, and on the milling industry. Overall costs are estimated on the assumption that it will be necessary to inject at least CZK 3-8bn in the food industry every year during the five-year pre-accession period (Koberna considers 2005 or 2006 a realistic date for the Czech EU entry). PK would like the government to cover 50 % of the costs, Koberna told CTK.

Foreign exchange reserves at the CNB grew by USD 411m month-on-month to a preliminary USD 13.472bn at the end of August.

Trading in the Czech crown was calm on Friday, tracking the USD/EUR development. The euro appreciated on worse than expected U.S. jobless rate of 4.9 % in August. The CZK/EUR was at 34.16/18 in late Friday trading after closing at 34.11/14 on Thursday. The crown/dollar was up at 37.77/79 from 38.14/16 late on Thursday.

Negative sentiment prevailed at the bond market on Friday. CZK 5bn of the new government bond CZ 6.05/04 was sold with a high average yield of 6.13% (demand was worth CZK 9.59bn, all bonds were sold). The longest state benchmark bond CZ 6.95/16 lost 15bps to 101.40/70, yielding 6.79/76 %. Corporate bonds also often fell. The state 6.75/05 gained 10bps to 101.75/05, yielding 6.15/05 %.

Late on September 7 bond yield Late on September 6
State 6.75/05101.75/056.15/05101.65/95
State 6.95/16101.40/706.79/76101.55/85

(Martin Kupka)

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