Czech National Bank raises interest rates to highest level since 1999

Plus: State-paid health insurance contributions to drop, PPF selects new boss, and a new poll says most Czechs think good coffee is an important job perk. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 05.05.2022 08:44:00 (updated on 06.05.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

15:41 ČNB raises interest rates to their highest since 1999

The Czech National Bank raised the key interest rate by 0.75 percentage points to 5.75 percent. The reason for the increase is to try to curb the continuing inflation, which is exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. The last time the base interest rate was this high was in 1999. This was the sixth above-standard increase in the base rate by more than 0.25 percentage points in a row. Economists had expected rates to rise by only 0.5 percentage points.

14:52 PM Fiala commemorates executed resistance fighters in Berlin

Prime Minister Petr Fiala commemorated Czechoslovak resistance fighters executed during World War II in the Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. Fiala went to the memorial in the prison immediately after his arrival in the German capital. The Plötzensee Prison mainly served as a detention facility for opponents of the Nazi regime since 1933, and executions started in 1936. Citizens of former Czechoslovakia were the most numerous group of the victims executed in Plötzensee. Of the over 2,800 victims, some 701 were Czechoslovak citizens including journalists Julius Fučík and Irena Bernášková.

13:34 Police officer sentenced over fatal shooting

A police officer has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for his role in a fatal shooting. The officer, David Knapík, shot a man three times at a cottage area near Smržov in the Jindřichův Hradec region two years ago. Officers had been responding to a domestic violence call. According to the public prosecutor, Knapík fired three shots at a man who was reportedly drunk. The defense said the man had a long history of conflicts with police, had been acting aggressively, and refused to heed police instructions. Both sides can appeal the verdict.

13:10 Five veterans attend 77th celebrations of WWII's end in Plzeň

The Liberation Festival opened with a wreath-laying ceremony at the 2nd Infantry Division memorial in Plzeň today to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Second World War's end in the presence of three US and two Belgian war veterans who liberated the city in 1945. The festival runs through May 8.

All the three US war heroes aged 97-98 watched the ceremony at the memorial in Chodske Square. Herman Geist, 97, said it is always lovely to return to a beloved place because one does not forget. The other two US veterans, George Thompson and Richard Piper, attended the ceremony. Over 150 visitors gave a big round of applause to the heroes.

Politics State-paid health insurance contributions likely to drop in July

Health insurance contributions the Czech state pays for pensioners, children, and the unemployed, which went up in January, will likely decrease again based on a bill passed in the lower house Wednesday in the first reading after hours of obstruction by the opposition. The opposition argues that lowering the state-paid insurance contributions will cause the health care quality and accessibility to deteriorate.

Based on a decision of the previous Babiš cabinet, the state has paid a monthly health insurance contribution of CZK 1,967 per person, CZK 200 more than last year. Based on the new amendment the amount is set to fall to CZK 400 in July. With state-paid contributions reduced, the health insurance system will lose CZK 14 billion crowns this year alone. The bill will now be discussed by the lower house health committee.

ECONOMY PPF names new director

PPF Group, the investment company founded by the late billionaire Petr Kellner, announced Wednesday that it will appoint Jiří Šmejc, the head of Home Credit, as the Group’s Chief Executive Officer, effective June 15, 2022. Other members of this advisory board include Daniel Křetínský, head of Home Credit. Křetínský is the partner of Kellner's daughter. Renáta Kellnerová holds majority voting rights in the diversified investment company and is the administrator of her late husband’s estate, including PPF Group. Petr Kellner tragically died last year in a helicopter accident.

Real Estate The average mortgage offer rate rose to 5.33 percent in May

The average mortgage rate in the Czech Republic rose to 5.33 percent at the beginning of May. The mortgage rate has jumped 0.45 percentage points over the last month and by 1.19 points since the end of last year, according to new data by Fincentrum Hypoindex. Since spring, the rate is calculated using a new methodology on the fifth working day of each month. The methodology reflects the current average mortgage offer rate for 80 percent of the property value.

culture You Resemble Me wins main competition at 29th Prague – Febiofest

The coproduction feature film "You Resemble Me," the debut of Dina Amer, an Egyptian-American director, has won the Main Competition at the 29th International Film Festival Prague – Febiofest Wednesday. The film explores the character of Hasna Ait Boulahcen, a young woman involved in the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, erroneously seen as the first female suicide bombing in Europe. The film was also awarded by the Czech Amnesty International for films on human rights.

EMPLOYMENT Forty-four percent of Czechs can't imagine work without coffee

A new survey found that 44 percent of Czechs can't imagine their working day without coffee, while a quarter drinks coffee at work regularly and 15 percent only from time to time. The poll was conducted by the Ipsos agency for Jacobs Douwe Egberts among 512 respondents in April. Nine percent of respondents do not drink coffee at all and six percent drink it but not at work. Of those who drink coffee at work, about 50 percent have two to three cups a day, 8 percent have four to five cups and 2 percent have more than five cups, while 40 percent drink only one cup a day.

Some 34 percent of respondents use automatic machines at work, 33 percent make instant coffee, 19 percent prepare Turkish coffee and 9 percent have capsule coffee machines at their disposal. As many as 59 percent of respondents consider the availability of quality coffee at the workplace an important employee benefit.

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