The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry expects real wages to grow by 2.5 percent in 2004, about four points less than this year, the daily Lidove noviny reported. The slowdown is due to the government's fiscal reforms and austerity measures that will affect wages paid to civil servants. Furthermore, pensions are expected to go up by two percent, while the ministry expects inflation at three percent, which would push real pensions down. The ministry expects the average wage to grow by 6.6 percent this year and 5.6 percent in 2004.
The Czech Minister of Information Technology Vladimir Mlynar believes the planned privatisation of the dominant telecommunications operator, Czech Telecom, will boost Internet proliferation in the Czech Republic. According to statistics, some 40 percent of Czech have access to the Internet, something the minister is dissatisfied with. He is especially displeased by the lack of sufficient high-speed connectivity. Mr. Mlynar sees the main reason in a lack of competition as well as inadequacies in the market regulator's activities. He made wider availability of home internet his priority for next year, pressing for a flat charge for the dial-up connection and lower prices for high-speed ADSL connections.
The Czech Statistics Office has revised the GDP figures for the years 2000-2002, using a new methodology intended to harmonise the Czech Republic's national accounts with those of the European Union. The Statistics Office has made an upward adjustment to the GDP figure of six percent for 2000, seven percent for 2001 and eight percent for 2002. The revision puts the Czech Republic's troubled public finances in a more favourable light but the scale of the revision is largely in line with those already carried out or being conducted by fellow EU candidate countries, like Slovenia and Slovakia. The revision does not affect year-on-year GDP growth rates, but does influence those statistics that use GDP values as the basis for measurement, such as fiscal deficit calculations or state debt as a percentage of GDP.
The Czech Republic is competing with other Central European countries - namely Poland and Hungary - for a possible billion-dollar investment by South Korean automotive company Hyundai. Hyundai is keen to locate a facility capable of producing up to 300,000 cars a year in the region, giving jobs to some 3,000 people. Hyundai is likely to make a final decision on a location in three months.
Czech meat production excluding poultry grew by 8.1 percent year-on-year in September after a series of decreases. Pork production rose slightly more than beef production. At the same time, producer prices of beef grew by almost 2 percent, whereas prices of pork decreased by nearly 6 percent.
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