Economy of Poland

Economy of Poland

Currency 1 złoty (PLN) = 100 groszy
Calendar year
Trade organisations
GDP Increase$1.003 Trillion [1] (PPP, 2015 Estimate)[2]
GDP rank 21st (PPP, 2012)
GDP growth
3.3% (2014), 3.6% (2015e),
3.7% (2016f), 3.5% (2017f)[3]
GDP per capita
Increase$26,500 (PPP, 2015)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 3.5%; industry: 34.2%; services: 62.3% (2012)
0.7% (CPI, 2014)[4]
31.1 (2010)
Labour force
Increase17.92 million (2012)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 11.5%; industry: 30.4%; services: 57.8% (2015)
Unemployment 8.4% Decrease by GUS measure, 6.1% Decrease by EUROSTAT measure (Aug. 2016)
Average gross salary
€975.96/$1,320, monthly (2014)[5]
Main industries
machine building, iron and steel, mining coal, chemicals, ship building, food processing, glass
Exports Increase€152.78 billion (2013)
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%
 France 6.0%
 Russia 5.2%
 Italy 5.0%
 Netherlands 4.6% (2012 est.)[7]
Imports Increase€155.09 billion (2013)
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%,
 Russia 12.2%,
 Netherlands 5.9%,
 China 5.4%,
 Italy 5.2%,
 Czech Republic 4.3%,
 France 4.2% (2012 est.)[8]
FDI stock
Decrease$194.9 (31 December 2012 est.)
Decrease$326 billion (20 January 2014)
Public finances
Decrease47.1% of GDP (20 January 2014)
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)[9]

A (Domestic)
A- (Foreign)
A+ (T&C Assessment)
(Standard & Poor's)[10]

Foreign reserves
US$97.93 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The Economy of Poland is the largest economy in Central Europe,[12][13] sixth largest in the EU,[14] and the largest among the ex- real socialist members of the European Union.[15] Since 1990 Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization and its economy was the only one in the EU to avoid a recession through the 2008-2009 economic downturn. Before the late-2000s recession, its economy grew at a yearly rate of over 6.0%.[16]

Poland is ranked 20th worldwide in terms of GDP and classified as high-income economy by World Bank. The largest component of its economy is the service sector (62.3.%), followed by industry (34.2%) and agriculture (3.5%). With the economic reform of 1989 the Polish external debt increased from $42.2 billion in 1989[17][18] to $365.2 billion in 2014. Poland shipped US$198.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2015, up by 5.4% since 2011 and down 7.6% from 2014 to 2015. The top Poland exports include machinery, electronic equipment, vehicles, furniture, and plastics.

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. In Q1 2014 its economy grew by 3.4% and is expected to grow by 3.4% in 2014, 3.7% in 2015 and 3.9% in 2016.


Poland has seen the largest increase GDP per capita (more than 100%) both among the former Soviet-bloc countries, and compared to the EU-15 (around 45%).[19] It has had uninterrupted economic growth since 1992, even after the 2007 financial crisis.[19]

Before 1989

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


The Polish state 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.[20] 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.

Since the 2009 financial crisis

Since the global recession of 2009, Poland's GDP continued to grow. In 2009, at the high point of the crisis, the GDP for the European Union as a whole dropped by 4.5% while Polish GDP increased by 1.6%.[21] As of November 2013, the size of EU's economy remains below the pre-crisis level, while Poland's economy increased by a cumulative 16%.[21] The major reasons for its success appear to be a large internal market (in terms of population is sixth in EU) and a business friendly political climate. The economic reforms implemented after the fall of socialism in the 1990s have also played a role; between 1989 and 2007 Poland's economy grew by 177%, faster than other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, while at the same time millions were left without work.[21]

Another factor which allowed the Polish economy to avoid the financial crisis was its low level of public debt, at about 50% of GDP, below the EU average (around 90%).[21] Strict financial regulation also helped to keep household and corporate debt low. Furthermore, unlike many other European countries, Poland did not implement austerity but rather boosted domestic demand through Keynesian policy of tax cut, and foreign-assistance funded public spending.[21] An additional reason for its success lay in the fact that Poland is outside the Euro zone. The depreciation of the currency, the złoty, increased international competitiveness and boosted the value of Poland's exports (in złotys).[21]

However, the economic fluctuations of the business cycle did affect Poland's unemployment rate, which by early 2013 reached almost 11%. This level was still below European average and has begun falling subsequently.[21] As of February 2014, Poland's unemployment rate stood at 7% according to Eurostat.[22]

Labour market and wages

GDP (PPP) of Poland
Unemployment rate in Poland in 1997-2014
Minimum wages in former real socialist countries in Europe, in Euros per month. Poland, at the far right
Poland Export Treemap by Product (2014) from Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity
Polish exports in 2006

Unemployment in Poland appeared after the fall of socialisism, although the economy previously had high levels of hidden unemployment. The unemployment rate then fell to 10% by the late 1990s and then increased again in the first few years of the 21st century, reaching a peak of 20% in 2002. It has since decreased, although unevenly. Since 2008 the unemployment rate in Poland has consistently been below European average.[23]

The rate fell below 8% in 2015,[24] leading to the possibility of a labor deficit.[25]

Foreign trade and FDI

With the collapse of the rouble-based COMECON trading bloc in 1991, Poland reoriented its trade. As early as 1996, 70% of its trade was with EU members. Neighboring Germany is Poland's main trading partner today. Poland joined the European Union 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.

Poland is a founding member of the World Trade Organization.[26] As a member of the European Union, it applies the common external tariff to goods from other countries including the United States. Poland's Major imports are capital goods needed for industrial retooling and for manufacturing inputs. The country's exports also include machinery, but are highly diversified. The most successful exports are furniture, foods,[27] motor boats, light planes, hardwood products, casual clothing, shoes and cosmetics.[28] Germany is by far the biggest importer of Poland's exports as of 2013.[29] In the agricultural sector, the biggest money-makers abroad include smoked and fresh fish, fine chocolate, and dairy products, meats and specialty breads,[30] with the exchange rate conducive to export growth.[31] Food exports amounted to 62 billion złoty in 2011, increasing by 17% from 2010.[32] Most Polish exports to the U.S. receive tariff benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Poland is less dependent on external trade than most other Central and Eastern European countries, but its volume of trade with Europe is still substantial. In 2011 the volume of trade (exports plus imports) with the Euro area as share of GDP was 40%, a doubling from the mid 1990s. 30% of Poland's exports are to Germany and another 30% to the rest of Europe. There has been substantial increase in Poland's exports to Russia.[33] However, in August 2014, exports of fruits and vegetables to Russia fell dramatically following its politically motivated ban by Moscow.[34]

Foreign direct investment (FDI) was at 40% of GDP in 2010, a doubling over the level in 2000. Most FDI into Poland comes from France, Germany and Netherlands. Polish firms in turn have foreign investments primarily in Italy and Luxembourg. Most of the internal FDI is in manufacturing, which makes it susceptible to economic fluctuations in the source countries.[33]

The UAE has become Poland's largest trading partner in the Arab world, Roman Chalaczkiewicz, Polish Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News.[35]

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.

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.[36] According to the OECD ( 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.[37]




Main article: Agriculture in Poland

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 real socialist 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. Poland is the sixth largest producer and exporter of apples in the entire world.[38]


Historically, mining industry in Poland had been extensive, particularly in Silesia.


Production industries

Industry day in Warsaw.[39]

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[40] 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.[40]

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.[40]

Main article: Energy in Poland

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.[41]



The Polish banking sector is regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (PFSA).

While transforming the country to a market-oriented economy during 1992–97, 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.[42] 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.

Major Polish companies

Selection from the list of 500 largest companies in Poland compiled by magazine Polityka.[43]


Production and sales data

Retail sales in Poland[44]

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
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:

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)


Electricity – production by source:


Natural gas:

Households with access to fixed and mobile telephone access[45]

Broadband penetration rate[45]

Individuals using computer and internet[45]

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:


Average gross monthly pay: 3403.07 PLN (~€830) (~$1202) December 2009

Budget and debt

Public debt level of Poland in % of GDP

The public and private debt levels of Poland are below the European average (2015).[19]

Polish state budget expenditure by division (2008):

Division Spending (in mln zl) % of total budget
Total 277,893 100
Compulsory social security 64,050 23
Public debt servicing 25,117 9
Social assistance 18,331 6.6
National defence 13,812 5
Public safety and fire care 12,517 4.5
Higher education 11,091 4
Public administration 10,161 3.7
Administration of justice 9,090 3.3
Health care 6,692 2.4
Education 2,200 0.8
Dwelling economy 1,541 0.6
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)
253,547 277,893 24,346

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.)

GDP growth in Poland

Recent GDP growth (comparing to the same quarter of previous year):[47]

Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2014 3.4% 3.5% 3.3% 3.1%
2013 0.8% 1.2% 1.7% 2.3%
2012 3.6% 2.2% 1.6% 0.8%
2011 4.5% 4.3% 4.2% 4.5%
2010 3.0% 3.5% 4.2% 4.3%
2009 0.8% 1.2% 1.8% 3.3%
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%

Historical annual data[48]

See also


  1. The World Factbook, Economy: POLAND - Overview. News & Information.
  2. "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  3. "World Bank forecasts for Poland, June 2016" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  4. Bartyzel, Dorota (15 January 2014). "Polish Inflation Accelerates From Five-Month Low on Gas, Alcohol". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  5. (Polish)
  6. "Doing Business in Poland 2014". World Bank. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  7. "Export Partners of Poland". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  8. "Import Partners of Poland". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  9. "How Poland Became Europe's Most Dynamic Economy". Businessweek. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  10. "Sovereigns rating list". Standard & Poor's. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  11. 1 2 Rogers, Simon; Sedghi, Ami (15 April 2011). "How Fitch, Moody's and S&P rate each country's credit rating". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  14. "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2014".
  15. Stay informed today and every day (2011-08-27). "Eastern Europe's economies: Some calm amid storms". The Economist. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  16. "Tapping into Polish Power". Forbes. 24 September 2007.
  17. Michał Zieliński. "Gra w Gierki - WPROST". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  18. "The World Factbook". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  19. 1 2 3
  20. Jarosz, Maria (2005). Wygrani i przegrani polskiej transformacji. Warszawa: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN. ISBN 83-7459-000-9.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Faris, Stephen (27 Nov 2013). "How Poland Became Europe's Most Dynamic Economy". Bloomberg BusinessWeek Global Economics. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  22. "Eurostat / Unemployment rate by sex and age - monthly average, %". Retrieved 12/7/2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  23. "Poland: June 2000". Trade Policy Reviews. World Trade Organization. 26 June 2000. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  24. PAP, 9 May 2013 Polska żywność - fundament polskiego eksportu - 2012 kolejnym rokiem rekordowego eksportu żywności. Ministerstwo Skarbu Państwa (Internet Archive).
  25. GUS, Najwięksi partnerzy handlowi Polski: kto kupuje nasze produkty? 9 July 2014 (Internet Archive)
  26. Ministerstwo Gospodarki, Polska - kierunki eksportu i najchętniej kupowane produkty z naszego kraju. 8 December 2013 Euro-Dane :: Ekonomia Unii Europejskiej (Internet Archive). Most important importers of Poland's 2012 exports, graph. Manifo.
  27. Patrycja Maciejewicz, Leszek Baj, Polska żywność jedzie w świat. Pełno niespodzianek 2012-04-07, (Internet Archive).
  28. PAP, Więcej niż 80 proc. eksportu żywności z Polski to przetworzone produkty spożywcze 10-10-2014 Portal (Internet Archive).
  29. Wiesław Łopaciuk, Padł rekord wartości eksportu produktów rolno-spożywczych z Polski. Powód: słaby złoty Rzeczpospolita, 27-01-2012 (Internet Archive). "Z analizy "Rzeczpospolitej" wynika, że łączna wartość eksportu produktów rolno-spożywczych Polski mogła w 2011 r. sięgnąć 62 mld zł. W porównaniu z 2010 r. była o niemal 17 proc. wyższa."
  30. 1 2 Ho, Giang (July 2012). "Republic of Poland. Selected Issues." (PDF). IMF Country Report. 12 (163).
  32. "UAE is Poland's largest Arab trading partner". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  33. Schwab, Klaus. "The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  34. "Waking up to the new economy: Ernst & Young's 2010 European attractiveness survey" (PDF). Ernst & Young. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  35. Top 10 apple producing countries in the world., General Knowledge.
  36. "Invitation to Polish Industry Day in Warsaw". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  37. 1 2 3 "Poland (11/07)". US Department of State. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  38. "Polish pharmaceutical market". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  39. Wprost (2011-11-09). "Belka: polskie banki znów powinny być polskie". 70 proc. polskiego systemu bankowego jest własnościowo zdominowane przez banki zagraniczne. Biznes: Polityka i gospodarka, Archived from the original (Internet Archive) on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014. w Polsce nie zbudowano by nowoczesnego systemu bankowego [bez akcjonariuszy zagranicznych, stwierdził Prezes NBP. Bez nich] Polska nie uniknęłaby kryzysu bankowego — Marek Belka, prezes Narodowego Banku Polskiego.
  40. 1 2 "500 largest companies in Poland". Polityka. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  41. "Retail in Poland". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  42. 1 2 3 "IT and telecommunications in Central and Eastern Europe". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  43. 1 2 3 "Polish economy: annual trends". 1 May 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  44. "Quarterly National Accounts : Quarterly Growth Rates of real GDP, change over previous quarter". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  45. "AnnualData". Główny Urząd Statystyczny. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.