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Czech Watch - 19 March 2001

19.3.2001 9:11

In January 2001, Czech foreign trade prices fell below their December 2000 level. Export prices dropped 0.2 %, import prices reduced by 0.6 %. The strongest price reduction occurred in the area of mineral fuels where import prices dropped 4.4 % and export prices lost full 6.0 % month-on-month. Foreign trade prices respond to price shifts on international markets, but also to CZK exchange rate fluctuations. In year-on-year terms, import prices jumped up 5.6 % (out of which mineral fuels prices grew 28.7 %), export prices rose 0 4.7 % (out of which prices of machines and transport equipment fell 0.5 %). Nominal terms-of-trade (NTT) index improved to 99.1 in January, up from 98.8 in December 2000. In recent years, NTT-index peaked in the middle of 1998 (108.7) and bottomed in February 2000 (91.9).

- The gross central government debt (CGD) rose by 26.7 % in the CR in 2000 to CZK 289.32bn. Out of that, internal debt rose by 62.7bn, while external debt fell by 1.5bn. According to a Finance Ministry forecast, CGD is going to expand to as much as CZK 370bn this year. Concerning the public debt (a wider debt measure including, for instance, total municipal debt), MoF estimates its level to stand at CZK 334.5bn by the end of 2000 and at CZK 413.5bn (20.5 % of GDP) in December this year.

- The dissatisfaction of Czech population with economic transition is the lowest now since 1997, according to a monthly survey by CVVM. “Only” 41 % of respondents consider the transition to be a failure, compared to 52 % a year ago. Among the reasons for their disappointment, people quoted first of all economic crime, corruption, and misuse of transition by politicians.

- The Czech crown lost against the euro on Friday due to profit taking following a vain attempt of the currency to break the 34.40 resistance level. In the morning, CZK was trading on its one-month highs to the EUR. With respect to USD, crown dropped to its three-month low of 38.53/56 in the afternoon.

- After a one-day growth, bonds started to lose again in the aftermath of the higher than expected February PPI released on Tuesday.

CNB auctioned off a CZK 4.04bn tranche of the 6.30/07 government bond with an average yield 6.11 % (max. yield 6.13 %, min. yield 6.05 %). The tranche was oversubscribed with the sum of all bids amounting to CZK 7.89bn. One more tranche is scheduled for July.

late March 16 bond yield late March 15
State 6.75/05103.45/755.73/64103.75/05
State 6.95/16105.00/306.41/38105.90/20

(Martin Kupka)

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