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Czech Watch - 13 August 2001

13.8.2001 11:10

- After a meeting with Roma representatives, Deputy PM Pavel Rychetsky admitted that the both central and local governments should pay more attention to the security and housing conditions of Roma as well to their employment opportunities. In the area of employment, Rychetsky said he wanted to change the approach of labor offices to Roma job seekers. The participants in the meeting issued a joint statement in which they recognize that Roma leave the Czech Republic mainly due to their difficult position in society and that the failed government's integration effort. Government human rights commissioner Jan Jarab pointed out to the fact that Roma integration was a long-term project.

- The CNB Board approved new methodology for the minimum obligatory reserves effective Jan 24, 2002. According to the new rules, the terms for complying with the minimum reserves requirement will be to a large extent harmonized with the European Central Bank standards. The minimum reserves requirement will be cut and the period, for which fulfillment of the minimum reserve requirement is assessed, will be extended from 14 days to one month. On July 12 this year, CNB introduced interest on the reserves with the interest rate equal to the current repo rate and narrowed the reserve base to primary bank liabilities with maturity not exceeding two 2 years.

- Czech Association of Leasing Companies (ALS) announced that its members that control nearly 95 % of the domestic market, leased movables worth about CZK 47.7bn in 2001H1 (+15.5 % year-on-year). Real estate leasing dropped to CZK 1.1bn (-50 % year-on-year). Leasing of cars made up 47.5 % of the total leased volume, one percentage point less than in 2000H1. The dip reflects the stagnation in car sales. The share of machine leasing in the total leased volume amounted to 16.8 %, computers and office equipment made up 4.5 %. The fifteen largest leasing companies held 82 % of the Czech market in 2001H1, compared to 77 % in 2000H1. The Czech leasing business is the strongest one in the post-communist CEE countries.

- The City of Brno received a Baa1 long term foreign-currency rating, A3 long-term domestic-currency rating and P-2 short-term rating from Moody's to its EUR 300m Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Programme. The Programme allows the City to issue notes in any currency, with short or long-term maturities. According to the rating agency, the ratings are based on the City of Brno's sound financial performance, low debt levels and satisfactory levels of liquidity. The ratings also take into account the City's large infrastructure needs and some limitations in fiscal autonomy as a large portion of the local authorities' revenue base comes from State transfers. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, accounting for about 4% of the country's GDP. The local economy has diversified over the last ten years and the City has been active in attracting foreign investment, particularly from high-tech companies, in part through the development of a technology business park.

- In the absence of local impetus, the Czech crown was calm on Friday and tracked the euro/dollar rate. Late on Friday, the crown was flat from Thursday at 33.86/88 to the euro. Against the dollar, the crown firmed at 37.87/89 from 38.11/13 late Thursday.

- Czech bonds recovered slightly on average on Friday, owing to titles with longer maturities. Growing money market rates on Thursday cooled down the appetite of investors for short bonds but because no remarkable sell-offs occurred, prices did not fall substantially. The state 6.95/16 rose 15 basis points at 98.95/25, yielding 7.06/03 %. The state 6.75/05 rose 15 points to 100.10/40 yielding 6.70/60 %.

late August 10 bond yield late August 9
State 6.75/05100.10/406.70/6099.95/25
State 6.95/1698.95/257.06/0398.80/10

(Martin Kupka)

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