The vice governor of the Czech National Bank, Oldrich Dedek has once again called for an improvement in the Czech Republic's finances if the country is to join the Eurozone as soon as 1997. Mr Dedek said that at current levels the country would not be able to adopt the single European currency until 2011. The Czech Republic and nine other countries are due to join the European Union in May of next year.
The company Agrofert is once again to bid to buy the state-owned petrochemical company Unipetrol, according to press reports. Last year Agrofert won a tender to buy Unipetrol but then failed to pay the 11 billion Czech crown price, forcing the privatisation process to be restarted. The government is hoping to raise between 8 and 10 billion crowns by selling off its 63% share in Unipetrol. Britain's Rotch energy is also taking part in the new tender.
The price of coffee is set to rise by as much as ten percent in the Czech Republic in the next few months. The price rise has been caused by increased prices on the world coffee market, reported daily Mlada fronta Dnes. Czechs drink 22,000 metric tons of coffee a year.
The largest lottery organiser in the Czech Republic, Sazka, last year made a net profit of some 1.2 billion Czech crowns, a spokesperson for the company said this week. Those results were up from 1.13 billion crowns in 2001. Sazka - which means bet - is among the most profitable concerns in the country, ranking alongside major banks, mobile phone operators and Czech Telecom.
Workers on the night-shift at the largest car-maker in the Czech Republic, Skoda Auto, held a one-day strike on January 10 ahead of negotiations with the company's management. Trade unions at Skoda are demanding a wage increase of 10.5 percent, though the company has said it will not raise wages by more than 3 percent. Talks are continuing.
Czech farmers and food companies are losing ground when it comes to selling their products abroad; exports of food last year stood at 49 billion Czech crowns, with imports considerably higher at 76 billion crowns. Those results, calculated by the Agriculture Economics Research Institute, were 25 percent worse than in the previous year. Czech food producers sell more raw materials than processed products to other countries.
The Agriculture Economics Research Institute also released a study this week which suggests that some sectors of the agriculture industry will benefit from the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union a lot more than others. Cereals, oil-seed rape and sugar-beet are expected to be earners. Poultry and pork producers will have a much harder time being competitive on the common market, says the report.
One third more motorcycles were sold in 2002 than in the previous year, with a total of 13,000 machines sold. The most popular motorbikes in the Czech Republic are Indian mopeds, scooters from Italy as well as bikes from Japan and the United States. Almost 100 Harley Davidsons were bought in this country last year, up from less than 40 in 2001, business daily Hospordarske noviny reported this week.
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