Thursday, April 17, 2008

Czech Retail Sales February 2008

Czech retail sales growth accelerated to the fastest pace in four months in February fuelled by increased wages and an extra working day. Sales jumped 6.3 percent from February 2007, following a revised 4 percent increase in January, the Prague-based Czech Statistical Office. When adjusted for the greater number of work days this year than last, retail sales were up 4.5 percent.

Nominal industrial wages rose an annual 13.1 percent in February as the inflation rate reached a decade-high of 7.5 percen, although the central bank expect higher prices to put a brake on household consumption later this year, at least that is one of the key assumptions of the central bank's forecast for inflation to drop to its 3 percent goal in 2009, even without further interest-rate increases.

Policy makers, who raised the benchmark interest rate by a combined 1.25 percentage points over the past 11 months to 3.75 percent, are mulling whether inflation will recede fast enough, thanks in part to the koruna's 15 percent gain against the euro since July, or whether an additional rate increase is necessary to ward off a second-round pickup of inflation.

"There are the first signs of demand-pull inflation. Should signs of faster, adjusted inflation persist or strengthen, it would justify a monetary-policy tightening.''
Deputy Central Bank Governor Miroslav Singer

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