The Czech crown continued to rebound from its recent weakness on Wednesday morning. At one stage it had firmed around 0.4% against the euro and almost 0.7 percent against the dollar. The recovery started late Tuesday after Czech National Bank governor Miroslav Singer said in a blog that he saw no reason for the bank to react to low inflation figures caused by weak oil prices and falling food costs. December’s annual inflation figure was just 0.1 percent sparking fears the bank might shift its target exchange rate for the euro lower than the current 27 crowns.
Interest from foreigners is behind the record-high sales of new flats in Prague last year, the daily Hospodarské noviny reports. Last year developers sold close to 6,000 new flats in Prague, which is more than in the pre-crisis year of 2007. People in Russia have responded to the fall of the rouble by trying to get their money out of the country and investing in real estate abroad is a popular option, real estate expert Alexandra Krabcova told the daily. The real estate agency Century 21 says it has registered a several fold increase in demand by Russians and Kazakhs and developer Ekospol says many of its new clients are from the former Soviet Republics – Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Belarus. Every sixth flat sold in Prague is now sold to a foreigner and real estate experts believe demand will rise further, Hospodarské noviny says.
Organic food is still a luxury for most Czechs and although forty percent of people say they buy organic food items occasionally, organic products still make up only one percent of overall food sales. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka blames the high mark-ups that supermarkets slap on “bio” products as they are known in the Czech Republic.
The Czech crown continued to weaken in trading on Monday, at one time hitting 28.4 crowns to the euro. The crown already slipped to a six year low against the euro on Friday following the announcement of Czech inflation figures for December. The annual inflation rate fell to 0.1 percent from November’s 0.6 percent. This has fuelled fears that the Czech National Bank could set a new lower target euro exchange rate for the crown. Travel agents have already warned that foreign holidays will be more expensive for Czechs.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose in December to 7.5 percent with almost 542,000 registered as job seekers, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced on Friday. November’s jobless rate stood at 7.1 percent. Even so, the latest figure is still a drop from the 8.2 percent unemployment rate at the end of 2013. The country’s worst jobless blackspots is now Bruntál in the far east of the country with 13.5 percent unemployment. It replaced Most which now has an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent.
The Czech Republic can look forward to continued steady growth in 2015, although with domestic demand taking over more of the traction than export led manufacturers, according to a leading economist. Exporters are already operating at near capacity and are facing heavy investments to boost their output, he says. Although Russian recession is looking increasingly likely and the Eurozone continues to look edgy, low oil prices could compensate for some of these external risks and keep growth on course.
The head of the president’s office is all over Wednesday’s front pages following reports that he bought a villa in a leafy Prague suburb for a suspiciously low price. Chancellor Vratislav Mynář’s purchase has raised questions about his probity – and his continued failure to acquire the security clearance he needs for the post.
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”