Mortgage payments on average slice off a third of people’s incomes in the Czech Republic, with Prague inhabitants paying up to three times as much as people in other parts of the country, according to data collected by Golem Finance and released by the Czech Statistics Office. Mortgages in Prague amount to three fifths of the borrower’s income, followed by mortgages in south Bohemia which slice off 32 percent on average. The cheapest mortgages are in the Ustí region north of Prague, which only amount to 12 percent of a borrower’s income on average.
The Czech Republic will try to access EU funds to subsidize eco-friendly pellet stoves that will reduce pollution in areas where coal burning is the main form of heating, according to Environment Minister Richard Brabec. Minister Brabec said the ministry would strive to get the equivalent of nine billion crowns for this purpose between 2014 and 2020 which could finance around 150,000 eco-stoves. The money would be used predominantly in the most polluted eastern parts of the country where air-pollution is a massive problem. So far these subsidies have been funded from government funds to the tune of 220 million crowns.
Almost 17,900 new book titles were published in the Czech Republic in 2013, an increase of around 600 on the previous year, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday. The figures coincide with the opening of the Czech Republic’s flagship annual book fair, Book World, in Prague on Thursday. New titles peaked in the Czech Republic in 2011 with almost 19,000 being published. Since then the sector has been hit by the imposition of a higher rate of Value Added Tax rate on books and increased costs. The current centre-left coalition government has promised to put books back into a lower VAT band.
State-controlled power company ČEZ announced a 44 percent drop in first quarter 2014 profits on Tuesday. Continued low electricity prices and weak demand for electricity due to the mild winter resulted in a net profit of just 9.9 billion crowns. ČEZ sees the tough conditions continuing throughout the rest of the year with full year profit expected to come in at 27.5 billion crowns compared with 35.2 billion in 2014. The power giant announced earlier this year that it will not proceed with a tender to expand its Temelín nuclear plant and is under pressure from Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš to pay out all its profits from last year as dividends, a move the company has so far resisted.
Inflation eased to an annual 0.1 percent in April from March’s 0.2 percent. Price rises were at zero over the month. Cheaper food and drink was partly responsible for the annual slowdown although the cost of meat, milk and milk products are continuing to rise steadily, the Czech Statistics Office announced. Lower gas and electricity prices this year are also having a lasting impact by keeping price rises restrained.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic dropped by 0.4 percentage points to 7.9 percent in April, the biggest monthly drop this year according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The total number out of work stands at just under 575,000. The latest drop was partly due to the start of seasonal work as well as the continued upturn in the Czech economy and more people registering themselves as self employed. Unemployment has been on a downward slide since January.
A Dutch based real estate group whose man assets are tens of thousands of flats in the eastern city of Ostrava and surroundings has cancelled its plans to launch on the Amsterdam stock exchange. Domus NV announced that its plans for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the exchange have been dropped due to market conditions but that they could be resurrected in the future. The company is partly owned by the BXR group, one of whose main shareholders is Czech billionaire Zdeněk Bakala.
The board of the Czech National Bank suggested on Wednesday that it could quit its weak crown policy later than initially expected. The bank originally expected its currency interventions to keep the national currency lower than 27 crowns/euro would finish at the beginning of 2015. But it now appears, according to the latest comments by bank governor Miroslav Singer, that inflationary pressure will still be so low by then that the weak crown can probably be pursued longer