Economists are forecasting a good year for the Czech economy in 2015 with a predicted growth of 2.5 percent as the economic recovery gains momentum. Supportive financial conditions, government spending, rising confidence and stronger incomes are expected to strengthen domestic demand giving the economy fresh impetus.
Shopping malls around the country reopened on Friday after a short Christmas break launching their winter sales. Hundreds of items have been re-priced with cuts of 30 to 60 percent. According to surveys a third of Czechs regularly put off bigger purchases until the sales season, giving each other symbolic gifts for Christmas and twenty percent of respondents said they got money or vouchers as Christmas gifts. The winter sales are expected to last until mid-February.
Supermarket chains selling cheap imported Christmas decorations are causing tough times for local producers. Traditional Czech hand-made decorations, such as ornamental glass baubles, are facing competition from factory-produced replicas sourced from China and sold at a fraction of the cost. Over the last ten months, 430 million crowns worth of decorations have been imported from China; consequently, domestic producers say they have to rely largely on exports to stay afloat.
With low oil prices and EU sanctions hitting the Russian economy hard, the country’s currency the rouble tumbled to a record low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. Interventions by Moscow, including a steep hike in interest rates, have led to a slight recovery on Wednesday, though trading was still described as volatile. Given that some 4 percent of the Czech Republic’s exports go to Russia, what impact could the rouble’s problems have on the Czech economy? That’s a question I put to David Marek, chief economist at the Czech branch of
The Czech power company ČEZ has confirmed that it will temporarily halt operations at its coal burning plant in the sea port of Varna, Bulgaria as of the beginning of next year after it failed to bring the plant up to EU environmental rules. ČEZ said it had been denied an exemption by the European Commission and the plant cannot continue to work without an environmental upgrade after December 31st. With a generating capacity of 1,260 megawatt, the plant serves as a back-up to the national power grid and the Bulgarian authorities have stressed the importance of keeping it in operation, pointing out it could become a much needed source of energy if Bulgaria were to be hit by a gas crisis.
The annual DesignSupermarket gets underway in Prague on Thursday. Now in its eighth year, the event – which organizers call a selling exhibition – is an alternative to commercial shopping in crowded malls, offering a selection of hundreds of designer items. The event was originally established for young local designers who didn’t have an outlet for their products. I asked Darina Zavadilová, the head of DesignSupermarket, if this was still the case:
The Czech Republic’s most lucrative shopping mall, Palladium, is about to change hands in what some have dubbed the deal of the year on the country’s commercial property market. The German fund Union Investment is to pay 565 million euro for the mall, located in central Prague, according to the daily Hospodářské noviny. The transaction is expected to materialize in the coming weeks – but it confirms Prague’s position as a prime destination for western European real estate investors. I discussed the deal with Rob Paulson, an analyst for the Prague
The Czech-Polish food war which dates back to 2012 flared up anew on Monday as the Polish agriculture minister Marek Sawicki accused the Czech authorities of employing dishonest practices aimed at hurting Polish imports. He claimed that the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority had ordered a blanket nation-wide inspection targeting exclusively Polish goods and said his country would complain to the European Commission over discrimination of Polish products.
As Christmas approaches Czechs are taking the shops by storm and salespeople are anticipating high profits. With almost no restrictions on opening hours, Czechs can shop till they drop, but that may be about to change. The lower house is preparing to debate a bill which would force supermarkets and shopping malls to close down for the holidays.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”