The Czech Republic has the highest number of indebted inhabitants from socially excluded areas among all of the central and eastern European countries, daily Lidové noviny reported on Friday, referring to a poll conducted by the Median agency. According to the results of the survey, more than a third of the socially excluded have a bank loan or have borrowed money elsewhere. In other countries, this number stands at around 20 percent, the daily writes. Nearly a fourth of the inhabitants of the socially excluded areas in the Czech Republic have borrowed from dubious sources.
Česká spořitelna, the largest and oldest savings bank in the Czech Republic, has begun raising fees for many of its services including postage, text messages and cash transactions. The move surprised many analysts as the recent trend among Czech banks was the opposite. The higher charges came into effect this Friday.
The value of public contracts in the Czech Republic between January and June 2014 year-on-year increased by 43 percent to 191 billion crowns the Czech News Agency reported Thursday – citing analysis by CEEC Research. According to the news agency, three major contracts by CEPRO – active in the transportation, distribution and storage of oil products – had the largest impact on growth, valued at 88.4 billion alone. The number of public contracts in the January-June period was listed at 5,960. The amount of new public tenders, meanwhile, was 4,330 – a rise of 20 percent. Public contracts have reportedly increased most in the construction sector, which saw growth after five years.
The Czech economy stagnated in the second quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter, according to figures by the Czech Statistics Office released on Thursday. Compared to the same period last year, the economy recorded a 2.6 percent growth. Most analysts expected a 0.3 growth in the second quarter but the statistics office said a drop in tobacco excise tax was behind the stagnation, with people massively stocking up on cigarettes and other tobacco products before the end of last year.
The minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, is continuing to hold talks with the heads of other ministries on next year’s budget. After a meeting on Tuesday, the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, said his ministry would receive CZK 2.5 billion more in 2015 than this year, while the education minister, Marcel Chládek, said his institution would receive over CZK 4 billion more next year. Under present plans, the 2015 budget deficit should not exceed CZK 100 billion.
Czech energy giant ČEZ announced its operating revenues in the first half of 2014 year-on-year in an online press release earlier today. According to ČEZ, the group’s net income was 17.2 billion crowns, 40 percent lower than last year. ČEZ blames the warm and dry winter along with low electricity prices and plans to raise earnings by cuts in fixed costs and expanding its business into new areas.
Officially, members of the cabinet began a two week summer vacation but behind the scenes no one is kicking back yet. On Monday, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš launched negotiations with the heads of the individual ministries on next year’s state budget, some of which will not be easy. The finance minister has promised 12 billion from the budget so far, which next year should include a deficit no greater than 100 billion crowns.
The semi-state energy group CEZ saw a 40 percent fall in year-on-year profits in the first half of 2014, according to a statement posted on its website. However, the company still made a profit of CZK 17.2 billion between the start of January and the end of June. Its revenues reached CZK 101.7 billion, 10 percent down on the same period in 2013. CEZ CEO Daniel Beneš attributed the sharp fall in profits to a relatively mild and dry winter.
Czech consumer prices returned to a growth in July, posting an annual rise of 0.5 percent, the Czech Statistics Office reported on Monday. The growth was fuelled by the higher prices of food, alcohol and tobacco products. Inflation was at 0.2 percent on the month. Bread, pork, poultry and egg prices went up, as did alcoholic beverages, up by 2.5 percent, and cigarettes, up by 4 percent.
Czech MPs have taken two weeks to finalize a civil service act, following a breakthrough compromise on the legislation reached by the coalition and opposition parties earlier this week. However, the latest deal has already drawn fire from some quarters for not going far enough to de-politicize the state bureaucracy
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