Poland: leading the way in central Europe

Poland has proved to be Europe’s most dogged economy during the last two years. It was the only EU country to avoid recession and has proved to be remarkably resistant to financial pressures. In fact, Poland’s nearly miraculous economic performance during the recent years was because of a combination of skill and luck. The government pumped money into the economy during 2009 and took advantage of an IMF credit line that reassured investors.

But Poland was also lucky that its banking industry was still small compared with the total size of the economy, thus offering less opportunity to do damage. Household debt has remained relatively modest and above all, Poland has benefited from the strong economy in neighbouring Germany, which accounts for more than a quarter of its exports.

Output is expected to rise 4 percent or more in 2011, after an estimated 3.6 percent this year. Commercial real estate prices in Warsaw are rising at a 10 percent annual clip. Foreign direct investment is expected to be up 28 percent this year, drawn by the country’s status as one of the few growth stories in Europe.

This being said, the economy still suffers from underlying problems. The deficit is expected to hit 7.6 percent of GDP this year, pushing total debt uncomfortably up. Poland ranks 70th out of 183 countries for ease of doing business. Job creation is hold back through excessive government bureaucracy.
Above all, whilst “everybody is very happy and proud that Poland was a green island during the crisis” said Lucyna Stancak from Warsaw–based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the country can’t isolate itself from vulnerability in the Eurozone, in particular should a slowdown appear in Germany.

This being said, the country’s domestic 38 million strong consumer market continues its upward trend and beats most others in the region. Average gross wage amounts to € 8,200 p/a equal to the Czech Republic but largely beating Slovakia and Hungary.

Pegasus – the Interpartners network partners based in Warsaw – are happy to provide marketers with a comprehensive overview of the opportunities offered by the Polish marketing scene, tailored to your specific product and brand requirements.
For more information, please contact: Pawel Rokicki (p.rokicki@pegasus.pl)

Main source of data: NY Times – December 6, 2010