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Czech Watch – 2 May 2001

2.5.2001 10:33

The leader of KDU-CSL, Jan Kasal said that he would like Miloslav Vyborny to candidate to become the party's new chairman at the KDU-CSL conference late in May. The party is to elect new leadership two years earlier than originally planned. Kasal's decision to enable early election of new KDU-CSL leadership followed disputes within the party brought about by former KDU-CSL deputy chairman Cyril Svoboda's resignation from the post of leader of the opposition Quad Coalition. Kasal added that if Vyborny sought the post he would be ready to step down, otherwise he would prefer to be reelected as chairman. Vyborny told CTK that he would make a decision within ten days. Svoboda said that although he respects Vyborny, he would still stand as a candidate at the KDU-CSL conference, because he would like to bring about a change of the style of politics of the KDU-CSL and try to swing undecided voters towards the 4K.

Cesky Telecom´s net earnings dropped from CZK 1.63bn to CZK 1.47bn in the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2000. EBIT fell from CZK 3.36bn in Jan-March 2000 to CZK 2.71bn. Pre-tax profits fell to CZK 2.13bn from CZK2.38bn in 200Q1, by IAS. Overall revenues amounted to CZK 14.22bn up from CZK 13.70bn and overall operating costs also increased, to CZK 7.48bn up from CZK 6.83bn. Cesky Telecom´s assets and liabilities reached CZK 157.93bn, owner's equity stood at CZK 104.64bn and share capital amounted to CZK 32.21bn. The figures are unaudited and consolidated.

Konsolidacni banka´s loss fell to CZK 0.9bn in 2001Q1 down from CZK 3.5bn in the first quarter last year. Total KoB assets at end-March 2001 stood at CZK 212bn, down from CZK 225bn a year ago. Loans administered by the bank amounted to CZK 199bn in the first quarter this year. The amount of problem claims will be reduced significantly in 2001Q2 when the sale of a block of around 500 loans to the book value of CZK 12bn will be settled completely. Last year KoB had a CZK 12.7bn loss and this year -in connection with the transfer of claims of IPB from CSOB - the loss may be as high as CZK 60bn.

A quarter of Czech citizens considered the régime before November 1989 better than the current one in April. 55 % shared the opposite view. One fifth of the surveyed was not able to differentiate. According to regular opinion polls by STEM, people´s satisfaction with the current régime has been constantly growing since early 2000. The bottom was hit in September 1999, when only 44 % of respondents were satisfied and 35 % expressed their wish to return back to communism.

Only 4 % of the Czech population are deeply interested in preparation of their country for EU-membership. 31 % of citizens follow the way of their country into the European club non-systematically. Full 39 % of respondents admitted little interest in the issue in the April CVVM opinion poll and the rest (26 %) did not care at all.

The Czech crown ended flat against the euro on Monday after weak trading. Late on Monday the crown stood at 34.51/55 to the euro, unchanged from late Friday. CZK/USD fell to 38.90/97 from 38.71/74 late Friday. "The crown lacks a clear direction. It settled at the current level on Friday and seems to hold it regardless of the euro/dollar movements," said a trader to Reuters.

The bond price trend remained downward. The longest state 6.95/16 bond lost 65 points to 104.85/15, yielding 6.43/40 %. The state 6.75/05 dipped 25 points at 104.10/40, yielding 5.51/42 percent.

late April 30 bond yield late April 27
State 6.75/05104.10/405.51/42104.35/65
State 6.95/16104.85/156.43/40105.50/80

(Martin Kupka)

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