Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has set out for South Asia this week. Together with Industry Minister Marta Nováková and a delegation numbering dozens of Czech business representatives, the PM is visiting important economic hubs in the region. Expanding science, research, education and defence cooperation is also on the agenda.
Tuesday's vote against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has raised fresh concern in the Czech Republic regarding the uncertainty that lies ahead and the possibility of a “hard” Brexit. According to the leading Czech business daily Hospodářské noviny a “hard” Bexit would result in a drop in direct and indirect Czech exports to Britain and the loss of an estimated 40 thousand jobs on the home market.
The average mortgage rate rose to 2.91 percent in December from 2.78
percent the previous month. According to Fincentrum Hypoindex data,
mortgages have risen at the fastest rate in 10 years.
The size of an average mortgage loan grew steadily throughout 2018 to stand at nearly 2.3 million crowns in December.
The number of applicants had surged in September as people sought to get mortgages before tougher lending guidelines set by the Czech National Bank came into effect on October 1.
Under the guidelines, a borrower should not be eligible for a loan which is greater than nine times their annual net income, or need to spend over 45 percent of their monthly net income to service the debt.
The Czech Republic is Europe’s top toy distributor, exporting more than 50 billion crowns now annually, according to a new study by UniCredit bank. LEGO, Playmobil and similar plastic toy sets account for two-thirds of that, though the country is also churning out various miniature sets and dolls. Along with neighbouring Slovakia, the Czech Republic has been the fastest-growing toy exporter in the EU since 2004. I asked UniCredit bank senior economist Patrik Rožumberský how and when this country became the top exporter.
This year’s title Exporter of the Year award has again been claimed by the country’s largest automobile manufacturer Škoda Auto. The award for greatest export growth was won by pressure components manufacturer DGS Druckguss Systeme, while engineering firm Hutní Projekt Frýdek-Místek took the prize for best medium-sized exporter.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš launched a bilateral Czech-Moroccan Business Forum in the city of Casablanca on Wednesday. In his speech, Mr. Babiš said that Morocco could become the Czech Republic’s largest trading partner on the African continent and that the two countries are currently discussing cooperation in the automobile, aircraft and armaments industries.
The Carlsbad based Jan Becher company, which produces the iconic Czech liquor known as ‘Becherovka’, has announced record export numbers for the fiscal year between July 2017 – July 2018, with eight percent growth. In a press release on Wednesday, the company said it intends to focus more on exports to western countries in the future.
On a three-day business-oriented visit to China, Czech President Miloš Zeman personally promoted Czech products at the China International Import Expo fair, slammed protectionist measures by the US and called on entrepreneurs to show courage in winning new trade deals. Meanwhile, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček opened a new chapter in Czech-Chinese dialogue: human rights issues.