Economy of Poland: Wikis


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Economy of Poland
Currency 1 zloty (PLN) = 100 groszy
Fiscal year Calendar year
Trade organisations EU, WTO and OECD
GDP $686.2 billion (2009 est.)
GDP growth 1.1% (2009 est.)
GDP per capita $17,800 (2009 est.)
GDP by sector agriculture: 4.6%; industry: 28.1%; services: 67.3% (2009 est.)
Inflation (CPI) 3.4% (2009 est.)
below poverty line
17% (2003 est.)
Gini index 34.9 (2005)
Labour force 16.99 million (2009 est.)
Labour force
by occupation
agriculture: 17.4%; industry: 29.2%; services: 53.4% (2005)
Unemployment 8.9% (January 2010)[1]
Main industries machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
Exports $134.7 billion (2009 est.)
Export goods machinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6%
Main export partners Germany 24.4%, France 6%, Italy 5.9%, United Kingdom 5.6%, Czech Republic 5.5%, Russia 5.2% (2008)
Imports $141.7 billion (2009 est.)
Import goods machinery and transport equipment 38%, intermediate manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 14.8%, minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials 9.1%
Main import partners Germany 28%, Russia 9.7%, Italy 6.1%, Netherlands 5.3%, France 4.7%, China 4.4% (2008)
FDI stock $167.9 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Gross external debt $201.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Public finances
Public debt 47.5% of GDP (2009 est.)
Revenues $83.68 billion (2009 est.)
Expenses $93.47 billion (2009 est.)
Economic aid $68 billion in available EU structural adjustment and cohesion funds (2007-13)
Foreign reserves $67.29 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars

Poland is the only member of the European Union to have avoided a decline in GDP, meaning that in 2009 Poland has created the most GDP growth in the EU. As of December 2009 the Polish economy had not entered recession nor even contracted, while its IMF 2010 GDP growth forecast of 1.9 per cent is expected to be upgraded.

Poland is the 6th largest economy in the EU and is currently considered to have one of the fastest growing economies in Central Europe, with an annual growth rate of over 6.0% before the late-2000s recession.[2] Poland's GDP grew by 5% in 2008.[3]

Poland has steadfastly pursued a policy of economic liberalization throughout the 1990s, with positive results for economic growth but negative results for some sectors of the population. The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms has encouraged the development of the private business sector, which has been the main drive for Poland's economic growth. The agricultural sector remains handicapped by structural problems, surplus labor, inefficient small farms, and a lack of investment. Restructuring and privatization of "sensitive sectors" (e.g., coal), has also been slow, but recent foreign investments in energy and steel have begun to turn the tide. Recent reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have resulted in larger than expected fiscal pressures. Improving this account deficit and tightening monetary policy, with focus on inflation, are priorities for the Polish government. Further progress in public finance depends mainly on privatization of Poland's remaining state sectors, the reduction of state employment, and an overhaul of the tax code to incorporate farmers, who currently pay significantly lower taxes than other people with similar income levels. Despite some continued systematic problems, Poland has made a tremendous overall economic progress over the last decade, and now is ranked 21st worldwide in terms of the GDP. With the largest component of its economy being the service sector, and the continued forecasts of positive economic growth, Poland is likely to continue to move up in the world GDP ranking.


Economic reform program

The economic reforms of the Balcerowicz Plan introduced in 1990 removed price controls, eliminated most subsidies to industry, opened markets to international competition, and imposed strict budgetary and monetary discipline. Poland was the first former centrally planned economy in central Europe to end its recession and return to growth in the early 1990s. Since 1992, the Polish economy has enjoyed an accelerated recovery, although growth has recently slowed. The private sector now accounts for over two-thirds of the GDP.

As a result of Poland's growth and investment-friendly climate, the country has received over $50 billion in direct foreign investment since 1990. However, the government continues to play a strong role in the economy, as seen in excessive red tape and the high level of politicization in many business decisions. Investors complain that state regulation is not transparent or predictable; the economy suffers from a lack of competition in many sectors, notably telecommunications. In early 2002, the government announced a new set of economic reforms, designed in many ways to complete the process launched in 1990. The package acknowledges the need to improve Poland's investment climate, particularly the conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises, and better prepare the economy to compete as a member of the European Union. The government also aims to improve Poland's public finances to prepare for adoption of the Euro (planned 2012[4][5][6]).

Foreign trade

With the collapse of the ruble-based COMECON trading bloc in 1991, Poland scrambled to reorient its trade. As early as 1996, 70% of its trade was with EU members, and neighboring Germany today is Poland's dominant trading partner. Poland joined the EU in May 2004. Before that, it fostered regional integration and trade through the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), which included Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Most of Poland's imports are capital goods needed for industrial retooling and for manufacturing inputs, rather than imports for consumption. Therefore, a deficit is expected and should even be regarded as positive at this point. Poland is a founding member of the World Trade Organization and member of the European Union. It applies the EU's common external tariff to goods from other countries (including the U.S.). Most Polish exports to the U.S. receive tariff benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Opportunities for trade and investment continue to exist across virtually all sectors. The American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, founded in 1991 with seven members, now has more than 300 members. Strong economic growth potential, a large domestic market, EU membership, and a high level of political stability are the top reasons U.S. and other foreign companies do business in Poland.

Foreign business in Poland

Polish law is rather favorable to foreign entrepreneurs. The government offers investors various forms of state aid, such as: CIT tax at the level of 19% and investment incentives in 14 Special Economic Zones (among others: income tax exemption, real estate tax exemption, competitive land prices), several industrial and technology parks, the possibility to benefit from the EU structural funds, brownfield and greenfield localizations. According to the National Bank of Poland (NBP) the level of FDI inflow into Poland in 2006 amounted to 13,9 billion Euro.

One of the main reasons why investors tend to choose Poland is its location at the very heart of continental Europe, part of the trans European road network and easy access to 250 million consumers within a radius of 1000 kilometers. Poland is a significant market of 38 million consumers driving 10% annual retail market growth. In the first quarter of 2007 Polish economy recorded the GDP growth at 7%, which makes it twice that of the EU average.

According to the Ernst & Young report, Poland ranks 7th in the world in terms of investment attractiveness. According to the OECD ( report, in 2004 Poles were one of the hardest working nations in Europe. It is estimated that the selection of Poland as the co-organizer of the European Football Championships in 2012 will speed up a lot of investments carried out in Poland in the coming years. It will mainly be the investment in sectors such as road, railway and air infrastructure, as well as in the hotel, tourism, gastronomy and recreation industry.

Polish government has a specialized body that deals with foreign investors. Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency offers support for foreign investors - assists and helps investors in all the necessary legal and administrative procedures.


Before World War II, Poland's industrial base was concentrated in the coal, textile, chemical, machinery, iron, and steel sectors. Today it extends to fertilizers, petrochemicals, machine tools, electrical machinery, electronics, cars and shipbuilding.

Poland's industrial base suffered greatly during World War II, and many resources were directed toward reconstruction. The communist economic system imposed in the late 1940s created large and unwieldy economic structures operated under a tight central command. In part because of this systemic rigidity, the economy performed poorly even in comparison with other economies in central Europe.

In 1990, the Mazowiecki government began a comprehensive reform program to replace the centralized command economy with a market-oriented system. While the results overall have been impressive, many large state-owned industrial enterprises, particularly the railroad and the mining, steel, and defense sectors, have remained resistant to the change and downsizing required to survive in a market-based economy.


Agriculture employs 16.1% of the work force but contributes only 3.8% to the gross domestic product (GDP), reflecting relatively low productivity. Unlike the industrial sector, Poland's agricultural sector remained largely in private hands during the decades of communist rule. Most of the former state farms are now leased to farmer tenants. Lack of credit is hampering efforts to sell former state farmland. Currently, Poland's 2 million private farms occupy 90% of all farmland and account for roughly the same percentage of total agricultural production. Farms are small—8 hectares on average—and often fragmented. Farms with an area exceeding 15 ha accounted for only 9% of the total number of farms but cover 45% of total agricultural area. Over half of all farm households in Poland produce only for their own needs with little, if any, commercial sales.

Poland is a net exporter of processed fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy products. Processors often rely on imports to supplement domestic supplies of wheat, feed grains, vegetable oil, and protein meals, which are generally insufficient to meet domestic demand. However, Poland is the leading producer in Europe of potatoes and rye and is one of the world's largest producers of sugar beets and triticale. Poland also is a significant producer of rapeseed, grains, hogs, and cattle. Attempts to increase domestic feed grain production are hampered by the short growing season, poor soil, and the small size of farms

For more see:$FILE/Attractiveness_Europe_2007.pdf


Major Polish companies

Online banking was recently adopted after an increase in financial products tied into the Polish Internet.[7]

Other statistics

Investment (gross fixed): 18.4% of GDP (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

  • lowest 10%: 3.2%
  • highest 10%: 24.7% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 30.6 (2004)

Agriculture - products: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat, poultry, eggs, pork

Industrial production growth rate: 17.8% (2006)


  • production: 150.8 TWh (2004)
  • consumption: 121.3 TWh (2004)
  • exports: 15.2 TWh (2004)
  • imports: 5 TWh (2004)

Electricity - production by source:

  • fossil fuel: 95.1%
  • hydro: 4.5%
  • other: 0.4% (2001)
  • nuclear: 0%


  • production: 17,180 barrel/day (2001 est.)
  • consumption: 424,100 barrel/day (2001 est.)
  • exports: 53,000 barrel/day (2001)
  • imports: 413,700 barrel/day (2001)
  • proved reserves: 116.4 million barrel (1 January 2002)

Natural gas:

  • production: 5.471 billion m³ (2001 est.)
  • consumption: 13.85 billion m³ (2001 est.)
  • exports: 41 million m³ (2001 est.)
  • imports: 8.782 billion m³ (2001 est.)
  • proved reserves: 154.4 billion m³ (1 January 2002)

Current account balance: $-3.831 billion (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6% (2003)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 38%, intermediate manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 14.8%, minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials 9.1% (2003)

Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $41.88 billion (2004 est.)

Debt - external: $99.15 billion (2004 est.)

Currency exchange rates: Złoty per US Dollar - 2.17 (Apr 2008), 2.51 (Nov 2007), 2.66 (Oct 2006) 3.15 (Jun 2006) 3.7 (2004), 3.8891 (2003), 4.08 (2002), 4.0939 (2001), 4.3461 (2000). Złoty per Euro - 3.44 (Apr 2008), 3.64 (Nov 2007), 3.96 (Aug 2006), 4.77 (Jun 2004).

Unemployment: 7.3% July 2008

Average gross monthly pay: 3403.07 PLN (~830 EUR) (~1202 USD) December 2009


This article discusses the economy of the current Poland, post-1989. For historical overview of past Polish economies, see:


Recent GDP growth (comparing to the same quarter of previous year):

Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2009 0.8% 1.1% 1.7% 3.1%
2008 6.1% 6.0% 5.0% 3.0%
2007 7.4% 6.5% 6.5% 6.5%
2006 5.4% 6.3% 6.6% 6.6%
2005 2.1% 2.7% 3.7% 4.3%
2004 7.0% 6.1% 4.8% 4.9%
2003 2.2% 3.8% 4.7% 4.7%
  • Total 2003 3.7%
  • Total 2004 5.4%
  • Total 2005 3.3%
  • Total 2006 6.2%
  • Total 2007 6.7%
  • Total 2008 5.0%
  • Total 2009 1.7%

In January 2007, industrial output was up 15.6% annually.

Poland entered the European Union on 1 May 2004.

See also

Business Portal for Poland




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