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Czech Watch - 27 August 2001

27.8.2001 9:51

- British immigration checks at Ruzyne airport will be resumed today in response to renewed rise in the number of Czech asylum seekers in Britain. Britain introduced the checks at Ruzyne on July 18 for the first time and terminated them on August 9. Many of the Roma who were prevented from leaving Prague were not told any plausible reason. The airport checks were criticized not only by Roma, but also by human rights protectors. The Czech cabinet agreed with the new round of the checks on Wednesday saying that the controls are a smaller evil than the reintroduction of visas, which is the alternative.

- CSSD chairman Vladimir Spidla said CTK on Sunday that his party wanted to lead serious talks on the 2002 budget, to push it through and to avoid a stop-gap budget. “A budget crisis in an election year would be extremely unpleasant, because it may spread unexpectedly and for a long period of time”, added Spidla. Vlastimil Tlusty, ODS deputy and the head of the Chamber of Deputies' budget committee, criticized the cabinet last week for having approved the budget framework too easily and having included blown-up revenues in it. The cabinet should sit on the first draft budget by September 10.

- Vaclav Havel signed an amendment to the insurance law, another amendment to the law on banks, and a law on consumer loans. The law on consumer loans is aimed at equalizing the possibilities of the loan providers and customers. Consumer loan contracts will have to comply with the new regulations as of Jan 1, 2002. The amendment to the law on banks should secure a higher compensation of clients' deposits when a bank goes bankrupt and cancels bearer deposit passbooks, rejected by the European Union legislation. The amendment also strengthens banking oversight. Finally, the amendment to the law on insurance removes shortcomings related to forced administration at insurers.

- Also the third test confirmed the presence of BSE in a six-year-old cow owned by a private farmer in South Moravia. This is the second BSE case in the Czech Republic. The first one was confirmed on June 8 and concerned a cow from a cooperative farm also in South Moravia.

- According to an analysis by Mag Consulting, Czech foreign currency income from tourism could rise by some 7.5 % year-on-year in 2001, to almost CZK 120bn. At the same time, the number of foreign visitors to the Czech Republic could drop by 2m to 102m. The structure of the incoming foreigners has been improving: the number of those, who spend at least one night in the country, is rising at the expense of one-day visitors. 40 % of all visitors come to the country from June to September. Most visitors (52 %) come to visit cities and sights, 14 % go to the mountains, 8 % rest near rivers and lakes, 7 % come to spas. Most foreign tourists (30 %) come from Germany.

- Trading in the Czech crown was calm on Friday after the Thursday’s swings caused by a large euro buy. Late on Friday the crown was practically flat from the morning and late Thursday at 34.23/26 to the euro. The crown/dollar was at 37.55/57, below late Thursday's level of 37.38/40.

- Bond prices showed mixed results after the weak trading on Friday. The longest state 6.95/16 bond rose 10 basis points from Thursday's close at 101.80/10, yielding 6.74/71 %. State 6.75/05 closed flat at 101.45/85, yielding 6.26/16 %. Closely watched this week will be data on wages in 2001Q2, CNB Bank Board meeting on Thursday, as well as hints about the ECB´s interest rate policy.

Late on August 24 bond yield Late on August 23
State 6.75/05101.45/756.26/16101.45/75
State 6.95/16101.80/106.74/71101.70/00

(Martin Kupka)

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