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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 16, 2008
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Business in brief
April 16, 2008   
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NBP Exchange Rates April 14, 2008

1 EUR = zl. 3.4295
1 USD = zl. 2.1730
1 CHF = zl. 21700
1 GBP = zl. 4.2866
100 JPY = zl. 2.1564

Unemployment Down
A total of 1.8 million Poles were without jobs in February, 34,000 fewer than in January and some 500,000 fewer than in February 2007. The improvement on the labor market has led to higher nominal and real wages.

Ukrainian Yes to Polish Meat
Poland and Ukraine have made a deal on meat exports, enabling Polish companies to export up to 25,000 metric tons of red meat to the Ukrainian market in duty-free quotas. The agreement concerns 27 red-meat plants and 10 poultry plants. The latter were previously unable to export to Ukraine because it imposed an embargo on Polish poultry after cases of bird flu were found in Poland last year.

In 2005, Polish meat exports to Ukraine totaled 20 million euros, after which they declined to 4 million euros in 2006 and a mere 2 million last year.

EU Funds Boost Polish GDP
European Union funds boosted Poland's gross domestic product last year by around 3.3 percent and contributed 1.71 percentage points to the GDP growth rate, according to estimates by the Ministry of Regional Development. This means that without EU funds, Poland's 2007 GDP would have only grown by some 4.75 percent, instead of 6.5 percent, the ministry said.

Heli Teams Up With Eurocopter
Warsaw-based company Heli Invest will handle Polish sales of helicopters produced by the French-German-Spanish Eurocopter group, which controls one-third of the global market for helicopters. Under an agreement between Heli Invest and Eurocopter, the Polish company will also take care of helicopter maintenance and repairs.

Heli Invest teamed up with Eurocopter four years ago. The Eurocopter group, part of the EADS corporation, has 140,000 employees and boasts over 4 billion euros in annual sales. It has sold 10,000 helicopters in 140 countries to date.

More Jobs in Eurozone
Unemployment in the eurozone fell to 7.1 percent in February, the lowest figure since the single European currency was launched in 1999. In the entire EU, the unemployment rate decreased to 6.7 percent, from 6.8 percent in January. According to the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the decrease of unemployment was the most pronounced in the east of Europe, especially in Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia. In Western Europe, most people were looking for jobs in Spain, where unemployment reached 9 percent, compared with 8.1 percent the year before. In all, 15.97 million people are without jobs in the EU; 10.91 million of them live in the eurozone.

Galileo Gets Green Light
EU transportation ministers have approved a 3.4 billion-euro European satellite navigation project named Galileo and designed to compete with the American GPS. Under an agreement made by the ministers, the European Parliament will award tenders linked with the Galileo project, which is scheduled to be launched by 2013. The parliament will also oversee the project's management.

Biofuel Deal
Poland's largest fuel producer PKN Orlen and truck and bus maker Scania Polska have signed a letter of intent to work together in promoting a new kind of biofuel based on bioethanol and in introducing it to the Polish market. PKN Orlen will contribute lab research on the E95 biofuel, while Scania Polska will start marketing vehicles capable of running on bioethanol.

Eurozone Impact on Banks
Competition among Poland's corporate banks will increase after the country joins the eurozone, according to research carried out by the National Bank of Poland. On the other hand, the adoption of the euro will have little impact on competition in retail banking and is unlikely to affect the profitability of Poland's banking sector as a whole, the central bank said.

Polish Tanks for Malaysia
Arms producer Zakłady Mechaniczne Bumar Łabędy has shipped another batch of seven PT 91 M tanks to Malaysia as part of its $370-million contract with that country's military. Bumar Łabędy has shipped 16 of the 48 tanks ordered by Malaysia so far.

BMW to Invest in Poland
Germany's BMW corporation will invest zl.30 million in a logistics and warehouse center in Słubice on Poland's western border. The project is slated for completion in May, and the center is expected to create 70-80 jobs.

Polish Skies Busy
Poland's national air carrier LOT Polish Airlines will share the market for flights to and from Poland with 57 foreign airlines this summer season, under a new schedule approved by the Civil Aviation Office (ULC). The broadest range of scheduled flights will be provided by Wizz Air, on 68 routes in all, followed by Ryanair, with 50 routes, and Norwegian, with 20.
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