According to the Czech Statistical Office’s data, in November exports and imports increased 21.0% and 24.1%, respectively, in current prices on a year-on-year basis. The surplus on trade was CZK 2.7 billion lower year-on-year and amounted to CZK 11.8 billion.

Trade with the EU countries ended up in a surplus of CZK 56.9 billion, up by CZK 11.8 billion year-on-year. Deficit in trade with non-EU countries deepened by CZK 14.5 billion to CZK 45.1 billion. Surplus increased in trade with Germany and Slovakia, by CZK 5.9 billion and CZK 3.5 billion, respectively. The balance of trade with Poland improved from negative to positive, by CZK 2.0 billion. Deficit in trade with China and Russia deepened by CZK 9.4 billion and CZK 2.8 billion, respectively, and also in trade with Malaysia and Korea. The positive balance of trade decreased by CZK 0.7 billion in trade with Italy and insignificantly (by CZK 0.2 billion) in trade with France and the Netherlands.

For the last 12 months, external trade with EU countries ended up in a surplus higher by CZK 101.3 billion and amounting to CZK 578.0 billion, while in trade with non-EU countries the deficit deepened by CZK 113.9 billion and amounted to CZK 452.7 billion. The positive balance increased in trade with Slovakia, by CZK 16.6 billion, Germany, CZK 15.5 billion, France, CZK 13.6 billion, the UK, CZK 12.1 billion, and Italy, CZK 12.0 billion. There was a deeper deficit in trade with China, by CZK 70.0 billion, Korea, CZK 11.0 billion, Azerbaijan, CZK 8.8 billion, Thailand, CZK 8.1 billion, and Russia, CZK 6.9 billion.

Latvia and Belarus headed the doubled increases in exports for November 2010 compared with November 2009. Compared with the development from early 2010, the most dynamic growth was registered in exports to Taiwan and Israel.

Trade with Algeria, the Czech Republic’s traditional trade partner in the Maghreb countries, is undergoing interesting development. From early 2010, imports from this North African country more than tripled. Although the volume of trade is not yet so significant, it may prove to be a promising opportunity in terms of further development.

On the other hand, month-on-month data on exports is quite volatile and display a downward trend. Documentary letters of credit are used for exporting to that country, which is supported by the local legislation that permits payments to foreign countries only for the goods that have reached an Algerian port. This banking instrument is reliable in taking care of this, and for Czech exporters it provides a good guarantee of payment for their goods or services.

In the case of Algeria, work with letters of credit is more sophisticated than in other countries. “Documentary letters of credit are issued by Algerian banks in French and, moreover, the banks do not communicate with us very much on clients’ questions or requirements. The terms and conditions of the letters of credit are extensive and it is necessary to read them carefully and consider whether it is feasible to satisfy them. Clients therefore often use our service of a preliminary check of the credit documents,” says Jaromír Chabr, Head of Trade and Export Finance at Komerční banka.