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    Polish economy – Fitch ratings agency upgrades GDP forecast amid good news

    Fitch, an international ratings agency, has upgraded its forecast for Poland’s GDP growth in 2019 from 3.8 to 4 per cent. It also revised upwards its GDP forecast for 2020 from 3 to 3.5 per cent. Fitch also revised downwards its estimate of Poland’s general government deficit for 2019 from 2.2 per cent to 1.7.

    Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted that the upgrades demonstrated that the government’s policies were effective and that experts saw Poland as “a leader of economic growth in Europe.” And the prime minister’s optimism is supported by recent statistics which show the Polish economy is still healthy.

    According to Poland’s Central Statistical Office (GUS), the average monthly salary in February was PLN 4,949.42 (EUR 1,153), a rise of 7.6 per cent compared with February 2018. The figures are fir employers with more than nine employees. The average salary for the fourth quarter of 2018 was up 7.7 per cent up on a year earlier, with GDP growing 4.9 per cent in the same quarter.

    The news was also good for the industrial production, with GUS announcing a rise of 6.9 per cent in February compared with a year earlier, and up from January’s 6.1 per cent year on year rise, although in monthly terms, industrial production in February was 1.5 per cent lower than in January. Analysts has expected a rise of only 4.5 per cent in February.

    Retail sales in February rose 6.5 per cent compared to a year earlier, 5.6 per cent in real terms.  Sales of household appliances and consumer electronics were 14.3 per cent in year-on-year terms, while sales of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics rose 9.7 per cent. Sales of fuels increased by 6.9 per cent.

    Exports are also performing well, and exceeded imports in January, accord to daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita which quotes figures from the National Bank of Poland showing exports of almost EUR 18.5 billion, an increase of 4.1 per cent over January 2018 and following a 2.3 per cent rise in December.

    With imports up 2.2 per cent in January on a yearly basis, against analysts’ expectations of 4.1 per cent, Poland generated a trade surplus in goods of EUR 279 million. As the newspaper noted, May was the only month in 2018 when exports exceeded imports.   

    As one might expect, these figures were reflected in the unemployment statistics, with unemployment of 6.1 per cent in February, unchanged from January, according to GUS. There were some 1,016,700 jobless at the end of February, down from 1,023,100 in January. GUS reported at the end of last month that Poland’s unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent in January was up from 5.8 percent in December.

    All in all, a positive picture and, while there is never room for complacency, it seems there are good reasons for the prime minister’s optimism.


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