Economy of Poland
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2009)|
|Economy of Poland|
|Rank||21st (PPP, 2012.)|
|Currency||1 zloty (PLN) = 100 groszy|
|Fiscal year||Calendar year|
|Trade organisations||EU, WTO and OECD|
|GDP||$813.8 billion (PPP, 2012)
$513.7 billion (nominal, 2013)
|GDP growth||1.4% (2013)|
|GDP per capita||$21,118 (PPP, 2013)
$13,333 (nominal, 2013)
|GDP by sector||agriculture: 3.5%; industry: 34.2%; services: 62.3% (2012)|
|Inflation (CPI)||0.7% (CPI, 2014) |
below poverty line
|Gini coefficient||31.1 (2010)|
|Labour force||17.92 million (2012)|
|agriculture: 12.9%; industry: 30.2%; services: 57.0% (2010)|
|Unemployment||10.6% (2012 est.)|
|Average gross salary||870 € / 1,290 $, monthly (2010)|
|Main industries||machine building, iron and steel, mining coal, iron and steel, chemicals, ship building, food processing, glass|
|Ease of doing business rank||45th|
|Exports||$192.3 billion (2012 est.)|
|Export goods||machinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured articles 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6% (2011)|
|Main export partners|| Germany 26.0%
United Kingdom 7.0%
Czech Republic 6.5%
Netherlands 4.6% (2012 est.)
|Imports||$206.5 billion (2012 est.)|
|Import goods||machinery and transport equipment 38.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 21.0%, chemicals 15.0%, minerals, fuels, lubricants and related materials 12.6%, miscellaneous manufactured articles 9.0% (2011)|
|Main import partners|| Germany 27.3%
Czech Republic 4.3%
France 4.2% (2012 est.)
|FDI stock||$194.9 (31 December 2012 est.)|
|Gross external debt||$310.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)|
|Public debt||53.8% of GDP (2012 est.)|
|Revenues||$89.47 billion (2012 est.)|
|Expenses||$99.54 billion (2012 est.)|
|Economic aid||$137 billion EU structural funds (2007–13)
$142 billion EU structural funds (2014-20)
|Foreign reserves||US$97.93 billion (31 December 2012 est.)|
The Economy of Poland is a high income economy and is the sixth largest in the EU, and one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, with a yearly growth rate of over 3.0% before the late-2000s recession. It is the only member country 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 contracted. According to the Central Statistical Office of Poland, in 2010 the Polish economic growth rate was 3.9%, which was one of the best results in Europe.
The Polish state 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 the reduction of public sector 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 systemic problems, Poland has made great economic progress over the last decade, and now is ranked 20th worldwide in terms of GDP. The largest component of its economy is the service sector.
With the collapse of the rouble-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.
International business in Poland
Polish law is rather favourable 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 locations. According to the National Bank of Poland (NBP) the level of FDI inflow into Poland in 2006 amounted to 13.9 billion Euros.
According to an Ernst & Young report, Poland ranks 7th in the World in terms of investment attractiveness. However, Ernst & Young's 2010 European attractiveness survey reported that Poland saw a 52% decrease in FDI job creation and a 42% decrease in number of FDI projects since 2008. According to the OECD (www.oecd.org) report, in 2004 Poles were one of the hardest working nations in Europe. Yet, the ability to establish and conduct business easily has been cause for economic hardship; the 2010 the World Economic Forum ranked Poland near the bottom of OECD countries in terms of the clarity, efficiency and neutrality of the legal framework used by firms to settle disputes.
The Polish banking sector, the largest in central and eastern Europe as well as the largest and the most highly developed sector of the country’s financial markets, is regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority.
While transforming the country to a market-oriented economy during 1992–1997, the government privatized some banks, recapitalized the rest and introduced legal reforms that made the sector competitive. These reforms, and the health and relative stability of the sector, attracted a number of strategic foreign investors. At the beginning of 2009, Poland’s banking sector had 51 domestic banks, a network of 578 cooperative banks and 18 branches of foreign-owned banks. In addition, foreign investors had controlling stakes in nearly 40 commercial banks, which made up 68% of the banking capital. Banks in Poland reacted to the financial crisis of 2009 by restraining lending, raising interest rates, and strengthening balance sheets. Subsequently, the sector started lending again, with an increase of more than 4% expected in 2011.
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, car manufacture and shipbuilding.
Poland's industrial base suffered greatly during World War II, and many resources were directed toward reconstruction. The socialist 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 programme to replace the centralised command economy with a market-oriented system. While the results overall have been impressive, many large state-owned industrial enterprises, particularly the rail, mining, steel, and defence sectors, have remained resistant to change and the downsizing required to survive in a market-based economy.
Agriculture employs 12.7% of the work force but contributes 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 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 EU producer 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.
Polish pharmaceutical market
The total value of the Polish pharmacy market in 2008 was PLN 24.1bn, 11.5% more than in 2007.
The non-prescription medicines market, which accounts for about one-third of the total market value, was worth PLN 7.5bn in 2008. This value includes drugs and non-drugs such as dietary supplements, cosmetics, dressings, dental materials, diagnostic tests and medical devices. The prescription medicines market was worth PLN 15.8bn.
Major Polish companies
|This section requires expansion. (December 2009)|
- Newag - Train Manufacturer
- PESA - Train/Tram Manufacturer
- Hortex - Food Manufacturer
- Apart - Jewelry
- Wedel - Chocolate Goods
- Nobile - Sport/Kite Boarding
- 4F - Sports Clothing/Equipment
- Reserved - Clothing
- Vistula - Clothing
- CD Projekt Red - Video Game Developer
- PLAY - Telecom
- LVMH - Producer/Belvedere Vodka
- Ursus - Agricultural
- Prosto - Music/Clothing
- PKO Bank Polski – Banking.
- PKN Orlen – Petrochemical corporation
- Orange Polska – Telecom
- Netia – Telecom
- Getin Bank – Banking
- Ciech SA – Chemical group
- Kler – Manufacturer of luxurious furniture
- Black Red White – Furniture
- Alma Market – Supermarket
- PSE-Operator – National Power Company
- Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo – Natural Gas/ Oil
- Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń – Insurance company
- Polsat – Media
- Agora SA – Media
- Orbis – hotels
- Asseco – IT
- Bioton – Biotechnology
- KGHM Polska Miedź – Copper mines and mills
- Kompania Węglowa – Mining
- Echo Investment – Real Estate Development
- Emmerson Lumico – Real Estate
- Pekaes – Spedition
- Impel – outsourcing
- Tymbark – water and juices
- TelForceOne – Telecom
- Polferries – Transport
- Scat always on time – Spedition
- Grupa Lotos – Petrochemical
- Polish State Railways (PKP) – National railway
- Poczta Polska – Polish Post
- Cersanit- Ceramic Goods
- Polnord- Real Estate Development
- TVN- Media
- Globe Trade Centre – Real Estate Development
- Elektrim – Diversified utilities / mobile phone service
- Arrinera – Automotive
- Volkswagen Poznań – Automotive
- Fiat Poland – Polish branch of Fiat Group (former FSM), builds Panda, Fiat Nuova 500 and Fiat 600
- General Motors Poland – Automotive
- Warsaw Stock Exchange
- Tele-Fonika Kable – Cabling manufacturer
- Solaris Bus & Coach – Bus, coach and trolleybus manufacturer
- Fakro – Rroof windows manufacturer
- One Europe - Transport & Spedition
- Comarch – IT
- Amica Wronki SA – Engineering industry
- Maflow – Automotive components manufacturer
- Polar – Home appliances
- Mastercook – Home appliances
- Inglot – cosmetics
- PMR Ltd – b2b market research,business consultancy
- Metro Group Poland – retail
- Grupa Tauron Polska Energia – Energy sector
- Grupa Azoty – Chemistry
- Eurocash – Retail sector 
Retail sales in Poland 
|Total retail sales (PLN bn)||361.8||376.5||385.3||401.4||433.5||433.3||464.5||515.7||564.7||582.8||593|
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: 5.0 TWh (2004)
Electricity – production by source:
- fossil fuel: 95.1%
- hydro: 4.5%
- other: 0.4% (2001)
- nuclear: 0%
- production: 17,180 barrels per day (2,731 m3/d) (2001 est.)
- consumption: 424,100 barrels per day (67,430 m3/d) (2001 est.)
- exports: 53,000 barrels per day (8,400 m3/d) (2001)
- imports: 413,700 barrels per day (65,770 m3/d) (2001)
- proved reserves: 116,400,000 barrels (18,510,000 m3) (1 January 2002)
- 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)
Households with access to fixed and mobile telephone access
- landline telephone – 52% (2009)
- mobile telephone – 85% (2009)
Broadband penetration rate
- fixed broadband- 13.5% (2010)
- mobile broadband- 4.3% (2010)
Individuals using computer and internet
- computer – 63% (2009)
- internet – 59% (2009)
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)
Currency exchange rates:
- Złoty per US Dollar – 2.96 (Dec 2010), 2.92 (Sep 2010), 2.94 (Apr 2010), 3.25 (Apr 2009), 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 – 3.96 (Dec 2010), 3.44 (Apr 2008), 3.64 (Nov 2007), 3.96 (Aug 2006), 4.77 (Jun 2004).
- July 2008 – 7.3%
- November 2010 – 11.7% 
Average gross monthly pay: 3403.07 PLN (~830 EUR) (~1202 USD) December 2009
Budget and debt
Polish State Budget Expenditure by Division (2008):
|Division||Spending (in mln zl)||% of total budget|
|Compulsory Social Security||64,050||23|
|Public debt servicing||25,117||9|
|Public safety and fire care||12,517||4.5|
|Administration of justice||9,090||3.3|
|Culture and national heritage||1,487||0.5|
|Physical education and sport||0,583||0.2|
|Other (no specific category)||101,221||36.4|
|Total income (mln zl)||Total expenditure (mln zl)||Total Deficit (mln zl)|
Source: Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland (2008/9)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $70.08 billion (2004 est.)
State Treasury Debt – foreign: $55.4 billion (2008 est.)
Current account balance: $-6.7 billion [-1.5% of GDP] (2009 est.)
This article discusses the economy of the current Poland, post-1989. For historical overview of past Polish economies, see:
- Economy of the People's Republic of Poland (1945–1989)
- Economy of the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939)
- Economy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795)
Growth of Poland
Recent GDP growth (comparing to the same quarter of previous year):
Historical annual data
- Total 1991 -7.0%
- Total 1992 2.6%
- Total 1993 3.8%
- Total 1994 5.2%
- Total 1995 7.0%
- Total 1996 6.2%
- Total 1997 7.1%
- Total 1998 5.0%
- Total 1999 4.5%
- Total 2000 4.3%
- Total 2001 1.2%
- Total 2002 1.4%
- Total 2003 3.9%
- Total 2004 5.3%
- Total 2005 3.6%
- Total 2006 6.2%
- Total 2007 6.8%
- Total 2008 5.1%
- Total 2009 1.7%
- Total 2010 3.9%
- Total 2011 4.3%
- Total 2012 2.0%
- Total 2013 1.6%
- Attractiveness Europe 2007
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- Business Portal for Poland
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- Economic data from Eastern European Markets (ceeMarket.com)