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Foreign Trade - October 2000: Where is the floor?

21.11.2000 11:10

October trade deficit (CZK 16.4 bn) was the deepest since the beginning of 2000. The value is even the highest in comparison with the same months of previous years. Imports and exports grew by 45.4% and 35.7%, respectively, year-on-year.

October trade balance reached surprisingly high deficit. An average expectation amounted to CZK 10 bn. The factors behind the unexpectedly high trade deficit are high import prices of mineral fuels and an increase of imports due to the economic recovery in the Czech Republic. A deficit in the trade with oil and other mineral fuels amounted to CZK 9.4 bn in October (CZK 6 bn higher than in 1999). This is the largest value in the overall history of the Czech foreign trade figures statistics. We must say that’s this is surprising. Oil prices on the world markets decreased in October, the Czech koruna slightly depreciate against the US dollar. However, oil import prices should mildly drop down. One possible explanation is that an increase of real volume has occurred. Such an increase could be corresponded to higher transport services sales that we could see in previous months. Indeed, volume of oil imports rose recently (except of September). Moreover, we should take into account that there is also a natural gas import prices increase that deepens the trade deficit.

A strong impact on the foreign trade comes from the economic recovery in the Czech Republic. Growing investment demand causes a deterioration of the trade balance in machinery and transport equipment. The deficit of this commodity group deepened to CZK 0.8 bn in October 2000, compared to a surplus of CZK 1.1 bn in October 1999. Nevertheless, we cannot damn imports of machinery because they should increase a potential output and competitiveness of the Czech economy in the near future.

The economic recovery brought an increase of consumer demand as well. We can see an impact of this factor in growing imports of consumer goods. The deficit in consumer goods trade reached CZK 0.5 bn in October 2000 compared to a surplus of CZK 0.2 bn in October 1999.

On the other hand, a positive economic development in the EU countries and countries of the Central and Eastern Europe help to boost Czech exports (35.7% increase in October 2000, year-on-year). However, this factor can’t compensate an impact of factors mentioned above. According to up-to-date figures we have increased our trade balance deficit forecast for 2000 to CZK 133 bn.

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