In Business news this week: Czech crown falls to its lowest to the dollar since July 2010; Česká spořitelna withdraws from legal battle over bankrupt lottery firm Sazka; Czech foreign debt reaches 49 percent of GDP; sales of alcoholic beverages took another slump this year; and Czech Republic’s Vietnamese community launches its own discount website.
The Czech crown this week fell to its lowest against the US dollar since July 2010 when it sold on Thursday at 20 crowns and one heller to the dollar. The volatile Czech currency gained slightly on Friday when it traded at 19.98 to the dollar. Against the single currency, the Czech crown has remained below the 26 crown mark to the euro. The Czech crown has depreciated primarily as a result of growing concerns about the future of the eurozone. Although the Czech Republic has not adopted the single European currency, its economy heavily relies on that of the eurozone. However, analysts say that a weak crown will benefit the country’s export-oriented economy.
The Czech Republic’s largest bank Česká spořitelna has given up a legal battle over its assets in the bankrupt lottery giant Sazka, the news website aktualne.cz reported on Thursday. The bank sold its claim worth around 215 million crowns, or more than 10.7 million US dollars, to the KKCG group, one of Sazka’s two major creditors. The Česká spořitelna bank at the same time dropped all its lawsuits against the firm’s sale to the KKCG and PPF groups which in September paid 3.8 billion crowns for the bankrupt company. Sazka went bankrupt earlier this year due to its debt related to the construction of a multi-purpose arena in Prague. In September, the firm was sold to the PPF and KKCG groups.
The Czech Republic’s foreign debt increased by 80 billion crowns in the third quarter of this year, reaching one trillion and 860 billion crowns, or 49 percent of the country’s GDP, according to figures released by the Czech National Bank on Friday. Meanwhile, the debts of Czech households with banks and loan providers rose by 5.3 billion crowns in November, and reached a total of 1 trillion and 108 billion crowns, or nearly 60 billion US dollars. Compared to the previous year, Czech household debts increased by 58 billion crowns. Corporate debts in November rose by over 51 billion year-on-year, and reached a total of more than 962 billion crowns.
Sales of alcoholic beverages in the Czech Republic this year are expected to reach some 58 million litres, down by some two million litres, or between 3 and 5 percent, compared to the previous year, according to figures by the Czech union of spirits producers and importers released this week. This year’s slump in alcohol sales comes after a considerable decrease registered in 2010 when sales of alcoholic beverages dropped by around 8 million litres, mainly due to an increase in the consumption tax. Consumption of beer also decreased significantly this year by around 8 percent.
The Czech Republic’s Vietnamese community has launched its own discount website, offering bargains in cosmetics, restaurant meals, hotel stays, alcoholic beverages, food stuffs and other deals, the website moneymag.cz reported. The site also features articles of general interests and discussion forums. The website is run by a firm registered in Prague, and follows an increasingly popular trend of discount websites in the country. The Vietnamese community, with around 45,000 people, is the Czech Republic’s third largest minority, after Slovaks and Ukrainians, according to this year population census.