In Business News: the European Commission warns that the aging population will have a considerable impact on Czech GDP growth; the anti-monopoly office hands down the highest ever fine to a state body, after the Labour Ministry awards a contract without a tender; Czech mortgage and home-building savings loans increase ten times in seven years; sales of second-hand cars rise by over 20 percent; and the diplomats may be at loggerheads but trade between the Czech Republic and Cuba rises considerably.
New figures released by the EU statistics office Eurostat this week show that the Czech Republic attracted 8.8 billion euros in foreign direct investment (FDI) last year. This is 5.2 billion euros more than two years previously and higher than foreign direct investment in any other new EU member state. Overall, the Czech Republic ranked eighth among the Union's 25 members.
Newly-released statistics from Eurostat show that of all the new EU member countries, the Czech Republic received the most direct foreign investment in 2005. Foreign investors brought 8.8 billion euros (nearly 250 billion Czech crowns) to the country last year. The figures also show a steady rise in foreign investment from year-to-year, as the Czech Republic surpassed neighbouring Poland in 2005; Poland has nearly four times as many inhabitants as the Czech Republic.
In business news this week: prime minister Mirek Topolanek rules out euro adoption by 2010, plans to sell off Prague Airport, the interior ministry says it wants a strategic partner for the Czech postal service, a consultancy firm predicts a rise in Czech bankruptcies, Mittal Steel Ostrava announces 3,500 reduncancies, Microsoft Czech Republic pledges to double sales, and Lego opens a new distribution centre on the outskirts of Prague.
A Japanese LCD screen joint venture between Hitachi, Panasonic and Toshiba announced on Monday that it had started construction of a 92-million-euro (116-million-dollar) plant in the Czech Republic, AFP reports. Production at the new plant, at Zatec in northwestern Bohemia, is expected to start in 2007 and create jobs for 2,000 people.
In this week's Business News: a senior CNB official says next year's budget will be the worst and most dangerous in years; the Czech Republic faces a huge payout to a Japanese bank after losing an arbitration appeal: spending on employment policy in this country is among the lowest in the EU; a power industry figure calls for a quick decision on the building of a new nuclear power station; and the country's biggest lottery and betting company is 50 on Friday.
In Business News this week: the foreign trade gap in July is higher than analysts had expected; the Czech Republic falls eight places to 45th in the rankings in the annual Economic Freedom of the World report; the future of digital television in the Czech Republic is uncertain, after a court cancels the award of digital TV broadcasting licences to six channels; Skoda creates a rugged, off-road version of its popular Octavia model, the Octavia Scout; and there are three Czechs among the 100 wealthiest people in the former Eastern Bloc.
On Monday, Czech schoolchildren will return to their classrooms after two months, among them some 93,000 first graders. In recent weeks, we've seen some serious back-to-school preparations. The contents of shop windows changed from swimsuits and inflated toys to schoolbags, pencils and the like. Also, reports on television have been showing how much all the school supplies are costing parents this year.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
Misha Glenny: Organised crime is an important part of Czech economy – and corruption is its twin sibling