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Czech Watch - 9 May 2001

9.5.2001 10:55

Next Thursday, the Czech Statistical Office will publish the April inflation figures. Analysts predict that the price growth in April was higher than in the proceeding months mainly due to the renewed growth in the prices of fuel and the increase in the prices of some food. The fall in the prices of beef, which pushed prices down previously, ceased to have an effect in April but was replaced by the growth in the prices of other meat, flour and bread, said David Marek of Patria Finance. Also in April, the price of Brent crude oil reached USD 28 per barrel, while at the end of March the price was below USD 24.The market consensus for the CPI growth in April is +4.5 % year-on-year and +0.3 % month-on-month. (In March, the corresponding figures were +4.1 % and +0.1 %).

The nationality composition of asylum applicants in the Czech Republic has been changing. There have been remarkably fewer Asian refugees, while the relative weight of Europeans has increased. According to the Interior Ministry statistics, more than two thirds out of 1537 people who applied for asylum in the Czech Republic in April had come from an European country (first of all from Ukraine, as much as 27 % of the total), and about 30 % from Asia. 8773 people altogether applied for asylum in the Czech Republic in 2000, the biggest number since 1990.

Stock prices rebounded on Monday. The PX50 index rose 1.23 % to 410.8. Trading volume was quite low, due to a national holiday on Tuesday and closed markets in London. Cesky Telecom marked the highest gain, +3.81 % to CZK 347.9. Privatization expectations pushed up Komercni banka (+2.49 % to CZK 966). Among SPAD titles, Unipetrol, CEZ, and Ceska sporitelna gained less than 1 %, Ceske radiokomunikace lost 0,23 %.

The State may spend as much as CZK 24.3bn on social and healthcare expenses under a coal mining damping program at OKD in North Moravia until 2032. Another CZK 17.5bn should be used for accompanying engineering activities until 2015. The government will discuss OKD restructuring on Wednesday. The National Property Fund and the private Karbon Invest a.s. are the two principal owners of OKD, holding 45.88 % and 49.99 % of the mining company.

The government is going to deal with a situation report on the Czech capital market prepared by KCP on Wednesday. The KCP Chairman, Frantisek Jakub, was invited to participate in the discussion. The European Commission repeatedly criticized the Czech capital market last year because of long-standing lack of transparency and price manipulation.

The Czech crown was trading within a narrow range against the euro. The liquidity in the market was low. CZK/EUR stood at 34.62/63 in the afternoon on Monday, after 34.62/64 on Friday. CZK/USD closed at 38.81/84 on Monday after 38.65/68 late on Friday. There was no significant activity in the EUR/USD market either, with markets in London closed. According to analysts, the crown is likely to remain between 34.45-34.85 CZK/EUR this week.

The longest state 6.95/16 bond remained unchanged at 104.35/65, yielding 6.48/44 %. The 6.75/05 dipped 10bps to 103.80/10, yield up two basis points to 5.59/50 %.

late May 7 bond yield late May 4
State 6.75/05103.80/105.59/50103.90/20
State 6.95/16104.35/656.48/44104.35/65

(Martin Kupka)

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