In Business News this week: Škoda Auto seen rolling out four new models in 2017; Average wages rise by 3.9 percent in second quarter; Union groups call for hike in minimum wage to 11,500 crowns a month; Central bank announces modest foreign currency interventions in July; Finance ministry revises expenditure and revenues but deficit proposal stands; Unemployment drops to 5.3 percent in June.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car producer Škoda Auto will roll out four new models next year, including a new version of the Yeti, according to various sources within the company cited by the agency ČTK on Monday. Other new models should be updates of the small Citigo, Rapid, and mid-range Octavia. Škoda Auto should also unveil its first plug-in hybrid car in 2019, according to the report.
Average monthly wages in the Czech Republic rose in the second quarter by an average 3.9 percent year on year, according to the Czech Statistical Office on Monday. The average rise of just over 1,000 crowns boosts the average to 27,297 crowns. When inflation is factored in, the average percentage rise comes in at 3.7 percent. Compared to the first quarter, wages rose by 0.8 percent.
Union leaders and representatives from across the Czech Republic called Wednesday for an increase in minimum wages in the private sector from the start of next year to 11,500 crowns a month from the current level of 9,900 crowns. The meeting in Prague was organised by the Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trades Union, the biggest association grouping individual trades unions in the country, under the overall banner of “End Cheap Labour.” The government has been indicating that it wishes to seek a hike in the minimum wage to 11,000 crowns. Employers’ organisations dismissed the demand as unrealistic, adding that it would represent an increase of around seven percent while current wages settlements are running at around four percent. The government has set a target for minimum wages to reach around 40 percent of the average wage. The meeting also called for average across the board wage rises next year of around 5.0 percent.
The Czech National Bank announced that it spent 8.29 billion crowns in July on currency interventions aimed at preventing the appreciation of the Czech crown. The level of intervention is slightly higher than the 8.45 billion of June but way below the double digit figures from May, April, and February this year and the 58.16 billion crown figure for January. The central bank has spent around 563 billion crowns since it begin the so-called low crown policy of keeping the crown at or below 27 crowns to the euro in November 2013.
The Finance Ministry has announced lower overall expenditure and revenues expectations for next year's draft of the state budget to the tune of 15.4 billion crowns. The measure was taken as a result of revised expectations of revenue from the EU, which was cut by more than 18 billion crowns as opposed to the previous June proposal. The proposed deficit for 2017 budget remains at 60 billion crowns. The government is scheduled to debate the budget draft on Monday. It has to be approved and sent to the lower house by the end of the month.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic fell in August to 5.3 percent, according to freshly released figures from the country’s Labour Office. Employment offices registered 388,474 job seekers, which is the lowest figure for the month of August since 2008. Meanwhile, the number of jobs available last month was the highest in eight years. Unemployment in the Czech Republic had been gradually falling since February this year until July this year, when it slightly increased.
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