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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 14, 2008
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Industrial Growth Slows Down
May 14, 2008 By A.R.    
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Poland's industrial production increased by 0.7 percent in March over February and was 0.9 percent higher than in March last year, according to the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The bad news is that the March figure marks a major slowdown in growth from February when output in industry rose by 15 percent. Experts say it is too early to determine if this was just a one-off slump in the growth rate or the first sign of a slowdown in the Polish economy.

If the economy is indeed slowing down, economists say, this is chiefly due to the poorer performance of the corporate sector after a major appreciation of the zloty in March, combined with long-term factors such as pay raises in many sectors. The slower growth of industrial output has been accompanied by slower-than-expected growth in retail sales, which were 15.7 percent higher this March than in March last year, while economists expected them to increase by at least 20 percent.

Despite the slowdown in industrial production, the Ministry of Finance has upheld its first-quarter GDP growth projection for Poland at around 6 percent. "The slowdown in industry probably stemmed from the stronger-than-expected influence of Easter," said Deputy Finance Minister Katarzyna Zajdel-Kurowska. "At this point, without final data from individual sectors, it is difficult to determine if this slowdown was due to any fundamental factors. But considering that output in construction increased, the overall effect of industry's performance on the country's economic growth in the first quarter was probably insignificant."
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