President Zeman wants to open a debate on a time frame for Czech adoption of the euro, the ctk news agency reports. According to the president’s spokesman Mr. Zeman wants to meet with Prime Minister Sobotka next week to discuss a possible meeting on the euro at Lany Chateau in the coming months. The meeting should be attended by Finance Minister Andrej Babis, the governor of the central bank Miroslav Singer and bank board member Jiri Rusnok. The president has already stated his intention of making Mr. Rusnok central bank governor when Mr. Singer’s term in office expires. He has criticized Mr. Singer’s policy at the head of the central bank and even suggested that he is intentionally putting a brake on the process of preparing for euro adoption. The president and prime minister favour euro adoption and Mr. Zeman would like to see the country adopt the euro by 2017.
The Czech National Bank (ČNB) kept two of its main economic instruments unchanged on Thursday. The main interest rate, the two-week repo rate was maintained at 0.05%. The central bank also said that it would be keeping to its 27 crowns or lower exchange rate target against the single currency euro. That means that the bank is committed to intervening on the currency markets if the crown strengthens beyond that target. The controversial target has been in place since November 2013. Inflation would have to rise to near 2.0 percent and interest rates rise before the bank could realistically quit the low crown policy.
Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has apologized on Twitter and Facebook for his recent statement that Vietnamese owners of grocery shops "do not pay taxes, as is well known." I have been given to understand that there are Vietnamese who do pay taxes and I apologize if I offended their feelings, Mr. Babiš wrote in a statement on social networks. The apology was demanded by the Czech-Vietnamese Society, which argued that a vast majority of Vietnamese entrepreneurs pay their taxes and that the finance minister's statement was an unacceptable generalisation. The finance minister mentioned Vietnamese salesmen when defending the introduction of the planned online registration of sales during a question-and-answer session in the lower house. “Online registration of sales will apply to restaurants and retail, to brick-and-mortar shops and also to the Vietnamese who, as is well known, do not pay taxes,” Babiš said.
Average mortgage rates in the Czech Republic have again fallen, reaching a record low of 2.27 percent in February, according to an index kept since 2003 by financial services providers Fincentrum. The previous low – of 2.34 percent – had been registered in January. The highest figure recorded by Fincentrum was 5.82 percent in August 2008. However, Czech mortgage rates were considerably higher in the first decade after the fall of communism.