The Czech Statistical Office reported Monday that Czech foreign trade figures for July show a profit margin of 12.3 billion crowns, marking a year-on-year improvement of almost six billion. The standard prices of exports during the period declined by nearly 18% compared with last year, while import prices were down by 21.3%. The result was put down primarily to a lower deficit in mineral fuels, while a decline in machinery and transport vehicles had a negative impact on foreign trade.
In this week’s Business News: the postponement of early elections spells even more trouble for next year’s budget; the average wage is up – but only because low paid workers have been laid off; the fall and rise of the Prague Stock Exchange seems to have attracted new investors; foreign coffee and fast food companies see room on the Czech market; and the collapse of SkyEurope doesn’t impact Prague Airport so much, says its director.
The Slovak-owned low-cost carrier SkyEurope, the second largest airline at Prague Airport, has gone bankrupt. The airline has had problems over the past several months and on Monday night, it filed for bankruptcy. The collapse of SkyEurope has left thousands of Czechs stranded abroad, and many more with flights booked.
Czech Finance Minister Eduard Janota signed a bilateral agreement on Saturday with the Republic of Georgia for support and protection of mutual investments. The treaty is the culmination of several years of negotiation between the two countries and establishes the legal basis for the investment activities of each state, and protects investments from illegitimate encroachments on the part of either country’s institutions. The agreement also opens the door to Czech companies interested in working in the energy and health care sectors in the former Soviet republic. Mr Janota’s delegation was in the Georgian capital three days, during which time the interim finance minister also held talks with Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri and met with President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The Czech government on Monday approved a proposal to allow product placement in television programmes, meaning that the names of real-world products can now appear in television serials, films and other programmes, and TV producers can, of course, make money off of it. In one sense it means a new advertising medium, and in another, simply bringing above-board what producers have already been doing for a long time.
The head of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Petr Kužel, has said that while the number of redundancies is now falling in this country, he believes that firms will not start taking on new employees until next year. On Friday, the Czech Statistical Office suggested that GDP was down in the second quarter by 4.9 percent compared with the same period last year. The bureau did, however, suggest that the Czech economy was showing some signs of recovery, with results for the second quarter actually up on those from the first by 0.3 percent.
In other economic news, the Czech Credit Bureau has released bankruptcy reports for July that show the worst month for businesses since January of 2008 when the current insolvency act was passed. 129 entrepreneurial entities declared bankruptcy over the last month, while recent growth in personal bankruptcies decreased slightly. One fifth of the bankrupt firms were in Prague. Compared to the same month in 2008, entrepreneurial bankruptcies have doubled while personal bankruptcies have increased threefold.
The Czech Statistical Office has announced a large jump in the results of foreign trade for June compared with the same period last year. The surplus of 20.4 billion crowns (ca. 786 million EUR) was the second largest in the country’s history. While foreign trade continued to shrink in June, the pace was slower than in previous months as both exports and imports fell by less than 20 percent. Exports fell by 15.1% and imports shed 19.3% against June 2008 after tumbling by over 20 points each month so far this year. On a monthly basis, exports even rose by 1.6% while imports fell by 1.5 in June.
Forget Becherovka or even slivovice, it’s Czech rum – tuzemák – which is the biggest selling spirit in this country. Despite its popularity here, however, the drink remains virtually unknown abroad. Now though, one south Bohemian distillery has started selling its product in North America and is hoping that Canadians will develop a taste for tuzemák as well. Earlier today, I spoke to Tomáš Petrů from the Fruko-Schulz distillery, and started by asking him what the difference was between tuzemák and better-known rums from the Caribbean:
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