In Business News this week: Czechs optimistic about their finances for 2015; minimal wage increases to 9,200 crowns; Czech betting firms enjoyed record sales last year; fuel prices dropped by 4.15 crowns in 2014; real estate market boosted by record low interest rates.
Czechs are optimistic about their financial situation for the year ahead, according to a poll conducted by the Ipsos agency. The number of those who think they will be worse off financially in the coming year has dropped by six percent, to 17 percent. Only five percent of respondents regard their financial situation as hopeless, compared to seven percent last year. Most respondents are worried about the growing cost of foodstuffs as well energy, water and gas prices.
Starting this January, the minimal monthly wage in the Czech Republic will increase by 700 crowns to 9,200 crowns (roughly 330 euros). The minimal wage was last raised in August of 2013 by 500 crowns. The Czech Republic’s minimal wage has been sinking in the European rankings and is currently the fourth lowest in the European Union, followed only by Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania. The government hopes that the increase will motivate people to work rather than staying on welfare benefits.
Czech betting agencies registered a record number of bets in 2014 thanks to a number of large sporting events, representatives of the country’s most prominent betting agencies said. Czechs spent nearly 3 billion crowns betting on the major sports events, the winter Olympic Games, the World Hockey Championship and the Football World Cup, which is twice as much as the average. Two biggest Czech betting firms, Fortuna and Synot, registered an increase in sales by 20 percent year-on-year.
The average price of gasoline in the Czech Republic over the past two weeks dropped by 1.40 crowns to 31.92 crowns per litre, while the average price of diesel decreased by 1.21 crowns to 32.06 crowns. At some gas stations in the country, gasoline prices have gone below 30 crowns per litre. The decline in gasoline and diesel prices, which started in October last year, is driven mainly by falling prices of crude oil on world markets. In the course of last year fuel prices at Czech petrol stations dropped by roughly 4.15 crowns.
The average mortgage interest rates in the Czech Republic dropped to a historic low in 2014, giving a boost to the slumping real-estate market. Analysts say the real-estate market was also revived by decreasing prices of property. According to the most recent estimates, some 5600 new apartments were sold in Prague last year, which is comparable to 2007, when housing construction in the Czech Republic reached its peak. The real-estate market revival is expected to continue this year.
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