Iraq has agreed to buy 28 Czech-made L-159 jet training aircraft for 19.2 billion crowns, or around one billion US dollars, a spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister told the Reuters news agency on Friday. Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki is in Prague on a working visit, heading a political and business delegation. Details of the deal have been agreed at a meeting of the Czech and Iraqi defence ministers. Four planes will be shipped to Iraq within seven months’ time while the remaining 24 aircraft will be newly produced and delivered in two years. The Iraqi contract is the first successful sale of the aircraft which the Czech government has been trying to sell for years.
Czech fuel prices are reported to have decreased in the past week, with petrol Natural 95 selling for 37.93 crowns a litre, a drop of 0.10, and diesel oil prices down by three hallers to 36.90 crowns per litre. Analysts say the drop is marginal in view of the price hikes over the summer and give drivers little hope of a significant decrease in the coming months.
The Czech Banking Association, in its updated forecast, made clear on Wednesday it expected the Czech economy to contract by almost one percent this year, while back in July it forecast a 0.6 percent drop. CBA representatives discussed the downward revision as related largely to a fall in household consumption. The government´s austerity measures and unstable expectations of further development had contributed to the forescast change. The CBA also cut its forecast of GDP development for next year: the association now expects growth of less than 0.5 percent, while in July it estimated one percent growth.
The Czech unemployment rate grew slightly in September to reach 8.4 percent, up by 0.1 percent in the previous month, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office released on Monday. The number of people seeking employment grew by some 6,500 while there were around 4,000 fewer vacancies registered in that month. The lowest unemployment rate – around 3.5 percent – was recorded in Prague while the highest rates was seen in the north Bohemian district of Most with 15.8 percent and the district of Bruntál, in the north-east of the country, with 15.6 percent.
The state-run power company ČEZ has excluded France’s Areva from a multi-billion dollar contract for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant, leaving just two contenders - Russian and US firms - in the running for the country’s biggest-ever energy deal. The news has left analysts speculating on the political and economic implications of this development.
The French industrial conglomerate Areva has been eliminated from the tender for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant. In an announcement that surprised experts on Friday, the plant’s operator, the energy company ČEZ, said that the French had not met the business and legal requirements of the public tender. The exact reasons for their exclusion can only be published after the company has completed all options of appeal, a ČEZ spokesman said. Two other participants remain in the tender: the US-Japanese Westinghouse and the Czech-Russian consortium of Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress. The costs of completing Temelín are expected to reach 200-300 billion crowns. The winner of the tender is to be announced next year.
In Business News this week: Czech energy giant ČEZ excludes Areva from Temelín tender; EU stress tests reveal potential safety risks at Czech nuclear plants; largest Czech forestry firm goes bankrupt; Czechs continue to spend less on consumer goods; and truck maker Avia plans to expand to US market.
The six Civic Democrat deputies who are vehemently opposed to the government proposed VAT hike for 2013 say they will torpedo the government’s austerity package for next year if a compromise solution is not found. A series of negotiations with the Civic Democrat leadership has not brought the two sides any closer to agreement. The respective bill is crucial for next year’s state budget and the prime minister has linked it to a vote of confidence in his government. Civic Democrats opposed in principle to tax hikes claim that the money should be found by cost-cutting measures and through privatization, but this solution has been criticized in view of time-pressure.
The Czech Republic is planning to more than double its quota in the IMF, a move that should strengthen its position in the organization. Currently the country’s quota amounts to 1,002 billion Special Drawing Rights. The Finance Ministry’s proposal, approved by the government on Wednesday, envisages an increase to 2,180 billion Special Drawing Rights. A member country's quota determines its maximum financial commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its access to IMF finances.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”