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Poland's economic situation

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Economic overview

Poland has steadfastly pursued a policy of economic liberalization throughout the 1990s and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. Even so, much remains to be done. 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, but legal and bureaucratic obstacles alongside persistent corruption are hampering its further development.

Restructuring and privatization of "sensitive sectors" (e.g., coal, steel, railroads, and energy), while recently initiated, have stalled due to a lack of political will on the part of the government. Structural reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have resulted in larger than expected fiscal pressures. Further progress in public finance depends mainly on privatization of Poland's remaining state sector, the reduction of state employment, and an overhaul of the tax code to incorporate the growing gray economy and farmers most of whom pay no tax.

The government's determination to enter the EU has shaped most aspects of its economic policy and new legislation; in June 2003, 77% of the voters approved membership, now scheduled for May 2004. Improving Poland's export competitiveness and containing the internal budget deficit are top priorities. Due to political uncertainty, the zloty has recently depreciated in relation to the euro and the dollar while currencies of the other euro-zone aspirants have been appreciating. GDP per capita equals that of the 3 Baltic states.

Main indicators:

GDP: purchasing power parity - $373.2 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.4% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $9,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.8% industry: 35% services: 61.2% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: 18.4% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 24.7% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 31.6 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.9% (2002 est.)
Labor force: 17.6 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: industry 22.1%, agriculture 27.5%, services 50.4% (1999)
Unemployment rate: 18.1% (2002)

revenues: $49.6 billion
expenditures: $52.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)
Industries:
machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
Industrial production growth rate: 0.3% (2001)

Exports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 30.2%, intermediate manufactured goods 25.5%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 20.9%, food and live animals 8.5% (1999)
Exports - partners: Germany 33%, Italy 5.7%, France 5%, UK 4.8%, Czech Republic 4.3% (2002)
Imports: $43.4 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment 38.2%, intermediate manufactured goods 20.8%, chemicals 14.3%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 9.5% (1999)
Imports - partners: Germany 29.9%, Italy 8.1%, Russia 7.4%, France 7.2%, Netherlands 5.3% (2002)
Debt - external: $64 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient: EU structural adjustment funds
Currency: zloty (PLN)
Currency code: PLN

(Source : The world factbook)

 

 
     
     
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