The Czech Republic has maintained an excellent credit rating in the past year, getting some of the best ratings in Central and Eastern Europe from key international rating agencies.
Standard & Poor’s gives the country an AA for local currency and AA- for foreign currency, with a stable outlook. Moody's credit rating for the Czech Republic is at A1 with a positive outlook.
The agencies looked positively at the shape of public finances, the declining outlook for public debt, low unemployment and sound economic growth. This year’s credit ratings for the Czech Republic are the best since 1993.
Czechs will have to pay more for food, housing and electricity in the coming year. According to economic experts the price of electricity is expected to go up by eight to ten percent, the price of gas by five to seven percent.
Food prices are expected to rise by four to five percent on average by mid-2019 and rents are expected to go up by five to ten percent.
The rise in rents is driven by the lack of new construction. Presently around 22 percent of Czechs live in rented accommodation.
The number of public service employees is the highest in seven years, the ctk news agency reports citing data released by the Labour Ministry.
The number of people working in state administration in 2017 was close to 635,000 up by 22,000 as compared to 2014.
This is criticized by the opposition parties who accuse the government of squandering public funds and inflating state administration beyond the country’s needs.
Police, paramedics and fire fighters are gearing up for the New Year celebrations in the centre of Prague and other big cities.
Officers will be out in force in the city centre where thousands of people like to see the New Year in in boisterous street parties and traffic restrictions will be in force in areas where there is a bigger congregation of people, such as Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square.
The New Year fireworks will traditionally take place at 6pm on January 1st on Letna and may best be observed from the river embankments and nearby Prague bridges.
Fifty-six percent of Czechs have made a New Year’s resolution for 2019, according to a survey conducted by the Albert supermarket chain.
The most frequent resolutions concern losing weight, leading a healthier lifestyle and exercising. Young people mostly resolve to travel more in the coming year or get serious about their education and future.
According to the survey 60 percent of women and 54 percent of men make a New Year’s resolution, but it is generally young people who are most serious about keeping them.
The number of centenarians in the Czech Republic has been dropping in recent years, according to data from the Labour and Scial Affairs Ministry. There are presently 437 Czechs aged over a hundred, and the majority of them live in the South Bohemian region or Prague.
The oldest person in the country is a woman aged 108, followed by a man who is three years younger. Experts say the slight decrease in the number of centenarians is the result of a natural demographic curve.
The first day of the New Year should be overcast around the country with rain or snow showers in the higher altitudes and day temperatures between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius.