Czech Retail Sales Fall Most in 3 Years on Working Days

Czech retail sales fell the most in three years in December, affected by fewer working days, as the central bank debates whether it needs to ease monetary conditions further by weakening the koruna.

Retail sales decreased 5.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 1.8 percent drop in November, the Prague-based statistics office said in a statement on its website today. Retail sales fell 0.4 percent when adjusted for the working-day difference, compared with a 3.5 percent decline in the previous month, the office said.

The economy is suffering from weakening domestic demand as households and businesses cut spending due to government austerity programs and the euro area’s debt crisis. The central bank cut the benchmark rate to effectively zero last year, while several policy makers have said the bank may sell the koruna if it needs to further relax conditions as the economic recession risks stretching into the country’s longest ever.

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