The Czech Republic’s trade surplus in November rose to 10.8 billion crowns, an increase of 1.1 billion crowns on the same month in 2015. The surplus for the first 11 months of the year now stands at 190 billion crowns, around 58 billion crowns more than during the same period in 2015. The country faced a bigger bill for imported oil and a slowdown in the rate of increased production of cars and other transport equipment during the month.
Over 900 companies filed for bankruptcy in 2016, 97 less than in the previous year, according to an analysis by the Czech Credit Bureau released on Thursday. It is the first time in eight years the figure dropped below one thousand. The number of personal bankruptcies also dropped for the first time since 2008 to 7,022 cases, 945 less than in the previous year. The highest number of bankruptcies was filed in Prague and South Moravia.
2016 was a very good year when it came to the state budget, which ended with a surplus of 61.8 billion crowns. The result is the best since the foundation of the Czech Republic in 1993. The last time revenues exceeded expenditures was in 1995 and the result is a feather in the cap for Finance Minister Andrej Babiš. But critics charge that the achievement could not be attributed to the minister alone, far from it.
The coming 12 months look fairly positive for the Czech economy with growth still expected to be strong and some room seen for unemployment to slide even further. But the big headline event for 2017 is likely to be the exit from the low crown regime that’s been in place for just over three years now. The move itself and the way it is handled will have a major impact on trade, investment, growth and jobs.
The Czech branch of the international consultancy Deloitte expects Czech exports next year to rise by around 6.0 percent. A crucial factor, according to the study, is the expected end of the low crown policy which the Czech National Bank says could happen at the earliest from the middle of 2017. Exporters will then probably be faced with an appreciating and fluctuating local currency. Around 84 percent of Czech export currently head to EU countries with companies facing the challenge of boosting sales in the rest of the world where the prospects could be better, the report says.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has proposed building a new administrative compound on the northern outskirts of Prague which would pool civil servants from several ministries who are now housed in various buildings around the city. The minister says the plan would save money, increase work efficiency and make life easier for people who need to settle administrative matters for which they would currently need to visit several buildings in different parts of Prague.
One of the country’s biggest bargain buy portal sites is being investigated by police on suspicions it might have defrauded up to a thousand customers. Prague police have called on members of the public to report cases of fraud connected with the NákupvAkci.Cz portal. The Czech trading standards inspectorate has said that many people have not received goods or services they paid for. The portal ceased activities in the middle of December. A court on Tuesday refused an insolvency application for the operator of the portal, Garuma, says sufficient details of its debts had not been furnished.