Exports Forecast to Slow in Q1

Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) – The growth of Czech export will slow down in the first quarter of this year and the beginning of the second quarter will also be marked by a slower export performance, according to the Export Index of the Association of Exporters and Raiffeisenbank.


The index shows that Czech export had the potential to grow by more than 10 percent on average in the first quarter of this year. However, the more than 210,000 vacancies on the labour market together with seasonal factors have slowed down the export performance to around 5 percent.


The economic expansion of Germany, the Czech Republic’s biggest trading partner, is near its peak but Czech industry grapples with insufficient production capacity.


“Lack of workforce and in the last few months also lack of material are the biggest problems. The result is increased backlog,” said Raiffeisenbank’s chief economist Helena Horska.


“The use of production capacity, which is still by far behind the pre-crisis level, indicates that some production technologies are obsolete and demand a fundamental renewal,” she added.


“If I compare the released export data for 2017 and the annual average Export Index level, I have to say that lack of employees on the Czech labour market has caused at least a Kc110bn shortfall in export,” said Association of Exporters deputy chairman Otto Danek.


For example, data of the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP) signal that interest of Czech companies to export to riskier countries like Laos and Cuba is rising.


EGAP had insured export of goods, services and investments in the riskiest countries for Kc6.3bn in 2016, while last year the amount went up to almost Kc8bn.


Export of domestic companies was record last year. In the cross-border concept, Czech export increased by Kc5.7bn to Kc4,200bn. Exports to China grew by a fifth and exports to Germany by 7.3 percent. according to Czech Statistical Office (CSU) data.