January 2001 trade deficit amounted to CZK 9.3 bn, which translates into a CZK 5.1 bn rise on January 2000. January 2001 saw imports and exports at current prices rise at rates similar to those in January 2000: by 35.3% and 30.5% year-on-year, respectively. The imports were still growing faster than exports, though.
The trade deficit was recorded mainly for raw materials, semifinished products and chemical products (CZK 12.3 bn), of which mineral fuels accounted for CZK 9.1 bn, as well as for agricultural products and food (CZK 1,8 bn). Trade surpluses were recorded for machinery and transport equipment (CZK 2.9 bn) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (CZK 1.9 bn).
Behind the widening trade deficit we can find especially growing prices of chemical feed-stock, intermediates and goods, partly due to a weaker Czech koruna against the dollar (compared to January 2000) and partly due to an increase of oil prices during 2000. Growing domestic investment demand also pushed imports to rise. However, this factor was compensated by a strong increase of exports of machinery and cars to Western Europe, especially to Germany.
This year we expect that the main driving factors will be an acceleration of the domestic demand and a slowdown of the economic growth in Western Europe. A potential risk could stem from oil prices development.
We forecast the whole year trade deficit at CZK 140 billion.