• The board of the Czech National Bank (CNB) left interest rates unchanged at 2.5%, which was in-line with expectations. The CNB upped its GDP growth forecasts for this year to between a range of 4.9 – 6.5% from 4.4 – 6.2% and to 3.8 – 6.8% from 3.1 – 6.5% for next year. Accor
ding to the CNB forecast, inflation without excise taxes should reach 2.1 – 3.5% in March 2008 and 2.2 – 3.6% in September 2008. The CNB Governor, Zdenek Tuma, said that planned public budget reforms are a major uncertainty for the CNB and that these could substantially influence the direction of the economy.
• Generali and PPF agreed on setting up a joint venture on insurance market. Italian group will invest around EUR 1.1bn and its Central Europe assets. PPF is going to contribute with Ceska pojistovna assets and will hold 49% in the joint venture.
• Overall confidence indicator for Czech economy decreased by 1.2pts to 21.3. Only partial indicator for business confidence increased while in industry, construction and services indicators decreased. Consumers confidence decreased to -0.8 from 3.7 in March.
• Unemployment rate in France declined to 8.3% in March from 8.4% in February, the lowest level for the last 24 years.