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Czech: Economic Situation Not That Critical, Says World Bank

Prague/New York, 13 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - An expert with the World Bank says the Czech Republic's economic situation is not as critical as is widely believed.

In an interview yesterday with the Czech news agency CTK, Gerhard Pohl said the growth in the trade deficit and the drop in value of the national currency -- the crown -- were influenced by economic troubles in neighboring Germany. But, in Pohl's view, the German economy is strengthening and he feels Czech conditions will also improve once people see exports picking up and the crown stabilizing.

Pohl also rejected recent criticism of coupon privatisation and of the connections between Czech banks and investment funds, saying they were not the cause of the recent downturn in the Czech economy. He also expressed scepticism about what he calls looking for "plots" between funds and banks.

Pohl was the head of a team that has just completed a study on privatisation and restructuring in central and eastern Europe.