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Country Forecast Czech Republic December 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Czech Republic December 2017 Updater

  • December 2017
  • ID: 358897
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • In the October general election the centrist ANO movement won the largest share of the vote and 78 out of 200 seats in Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of parliament). Andrej Babis, the leader of ANO, is struggling to build support for a minority government owing to concerns in the other parties about the legality of his business affairs. However, The Economist Intelligence Unit expects him to succeed eventually, given the lack of other options.
  • We expect a significant degree of policy continuity under the next govern-ment. Although Mr Babis is a populist figure, ANO is primarily technocratic and pro-business, with no particular ideological slant. We expect continued efforts to reduce tax evasion, increase transparency in public procurement and streamline the state apparatus. Foreign policy will remain pro-EU, despite tensions over refugee resettlement plans.
  • After recording a 0.7% of GDP surplus in 2016, we expect the budget to return to a small deficit in 2017 as work begins on delayed capital investment projects. We forecast that the budget deficit will remain smaller than 1% of GDP throughout 2018-22, despite a loosening of the fiscal stance in the near term.
  • Real GDP growth slowed to 2.5% in 2016, from 5.4% in 2015, reflecting a bumpy transition between EU funding periods. We expect a robust acceleration in GDP growth in 2017, to 4.5%, as investment recovers, household spending strengthens and vigorous external demand drives export growth, with GDP growth remaining strong in 2018, at a forecast 3.1%. In 2019-22 we forecast average growth of 2.4% as the economy eases back to its potential rate of growth.
  • In the longer term income convergence will further reduce the unit labour cost differential with western Europe, eroding cost advantages for exporters and prompting greater policy-led efforts to attract investment into high value added industrial sectors. Less EU funding will be available in the 2021-27 fiscal period, owing to the exit from the bloc of the UK, a major contributor to the EU budget.
  • We estimate 2.5% average annual inflation in 2017, reflecting both supply and demand pressures. The Czech National Bank (CNB, the central bank) raised interest rates in August and November 2017, and we expect further gradual rate rises, particularly once the European Central Bank (ECB) begins tapering in 2018.
  • The Kc27:EUR1 ceiling on the value of the koruna was lifted on April 6th. The currency is now appreciating, and we expect this trend to continue over the medium term, given robust economic growth and rising interest rates. We do not expect the Czech Republic to adopt the euro in our forecast period (2018-22).

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