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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 30, 2008
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Business in brief
January 30, 2008   
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NBP Exchange Rates January 28, 2008

1 EUR = zl. 3.6245
1 USD = zl. 2.4665
1 CHF = zl. 2.2565
1 GBP = zl. 4.8841
100 JPY = zl. 2.3154

Inflation on the Rise
Growing food and fuel prices have triggered rising inflation in Poland. The prices of services in healthcare, hotels and restaurants have also risen. According to the country's Central Statistical Office (GUS), average prices in December were 4 percent higher than the year before, in keeping with Finance Ministry predictions.

Rising inflation, which stood at 2.3 percent in September, was to a large extent caused by global events. The drought in Europe last year and the growing demand for biofuels caused higher prices for food, while oil prices of over $90 a barrel have resulted in growing fuel prices at gas stations. In December, fuel cost 18.1 percent more than in December 2006.

Lotos to Deliver Fuel to BP
The Lotos group, Poland's second largest fuel corporation, will deliver zl.1.3 billion worth of fuel to BP Polska. At the end of last year, Lotos also signed contracts on fuel deliveries with Shell Polska and Lukoil Warsaw, worth zl.860 million. In 2007, Lotos delivered fuel worth zl.5.5 billion to Statoil, Neste, BP, Shell and JET.

State Aid for Lenovo
Waldemar Pawlak, the economy minister and deputy prime minister, has handed a letter of intent to Yang Yuangin, president of the Lenovo group. The letter contains a promise of state aid for the computer factory which the Chinese corporation is planning to build in Poland for $20 million, creating 1,000 new jobs. The aid must be approved by the European Commission.

Poor Economic Freedom in Poland
Poland came 83rd among 157 countries surveyed in an economic freedom survey by The Wall Street Journal. Poland's low position is a result of a negative assessment for investment protection, respect for private property and the country's high corruption rate. Hong Kong, followed by Singapore and Ireland, emerged top of the list.

Cod Season Begins
Officials Jan. 15 started to hand out this year's European Union fishing permits. The permits include 12,500 metric tons of cod and 43,000 tons of herring allocated to Polish fishermen.

Inflation Up in Slovakia
The growing prices of food and energy on global markets have driven inflation up in Slovakia. According to the Slovak statistical office, between November and December inflation grew from 3.1 to 3.4 percent, the highest rise for a year. Month-on-month, prices rose by 0.3 percent, after a 0.5-percent rise in November.

Belarus Charges More for Transit
The Belarusian government will Feb. 1 increase charges for transit of Russian oil by 15.7 percent, according to the Ekonomicheskie Izvestya daily.

Russia will have to pay 2.80 euros for every ton of fuel pumped through the Friendship pipeline. The higher charges will provide Belarus with an extra $31 million per year. Every year, Russia pumps 70 million tons of oil to Europe.

Russians Buy Ships in Szczecin
The Stocznia Szczecińska Nowa shipyard is building seven container ships worth around $280 million for Russian ship owner Far Eastern Company (Fesco) based in Vladivostok. By the end of 2009, the company will receive four ships with a capacity of 3,100 B178 containers each and three ships able to carry 1,700 B170 containers. Fesco already owns six container ships built in Szczecin in the 1990s.

Record Year at Euroterminal
The Euroterminal cargo terminal in Sławków, southern Poland, the end point of wide-gauge rail track from the East, handled over 10 times more containers in 2007 than in the previous year. The terminal is being enlarged and will this year gain a direct rail connection to China. The International Logistics Center on the site, modernized for more than zl.100 million, has been enlarged to include a new warehouse complex with a surface area of around 7,000 square meters. "By the end of this year, the handling capacity of the terminal will increase from the present 35,000 containers to over 100,000 containers per year," said Marian Bąk, president of Centrala Zaopatrzenia Hutnictwa SA, which owns Euroterminal.
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