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Czech Watch - 9 November 2000

9.11.2000 9:04

Consumer prices increased by 0.3%, month-on-month, 4.4%, year-on-year, in October. Consumer price index rose due to a jump in food prices by 1.1%. Price changes in other components of CPI were not important and offset each other.

Unemployment rate fell in October to 8.5%, from 8.8% in September. The number is better than expected and reflects economic recovery evident in other indicators. However, accelerating outflow from the labour force contributed to the lower unemployment as well. While about 13 thousand people monthly were leaving the labour force in 1998 without finding a new job, the number has grown to 18 thousand in 2000.

Industrial output grew 3.7% in September 2000. Compared with 11% growth in August, the September number looks disappointing, but September 2000 had two fewer working days than September 1999, so the adjusted growth rate remains robust at 8.1%. As usually, industrial growth was driven by automotive production that grew 29%.

The European Commission issued its annual accession assessment for the Czech Republic and other candidate countries yesterday. The Czech Republic was evaluated better than in previous years. The EU praised legal harmonization and privatization but criticized an increase in the off-budget deficits and hidden debt liabilities. A in the foregoing assessment the EU expressed doubts about the transparency on the Czech stock market, fighting economic crime reforming the judicial system, carrying bankrupts and protecting minority shareholders.

The Czech crown didn’t react when higher than expected CPI data were released. Late on Wednesday the crown was trading at 34.50 against euro from the morning’s 34.68. Against the dollar crown firmed to 40.43.

Bonds dropped on Wednesday. After disappointing CPI figures released in the morning, prices shifted down quickly, and some sell-offs have come on long term bonds. MoF 6.40/10 and MoF 6.30/07 were the biggest losers in the morning, however prices recovered slightly in few hours. The rest of the day was very quiet, and actually only few trades have been done in the afternoon, if any. We suppose Thursday and Friday to be quiet days as well, as market will probably wait for another figure to be released on Monday, PPI.

Current benchmark prices: MoF 6.75/05 99.00-30 (-15 bps), MoF 6.30/07 94.15-45 (-30 bps), MoF 6.40/10 92.40-70 (-30 bps).

(David Marek and Dalimil Vyškovský)

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