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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 28, 2008
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Business in brief
May 28, 2008   
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NBP Exchange Rates May 26, 2008

1 EUR = zl. 3.4044
1 USD = zl. 2.1623
1 CHF = zl. 2.1052
1 GBP = zl. 4.2757
100 JPY = zl. 2.0897

Poland More Competitive
Poland has moved up from 52nd to 44th place in a league table of the world's most competitive economies as ranked by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland. The top spot, for the 15th year in a row, went to the United States, and Singapore and Hong Kong are the joint runners-up. Poland ranks behind other Central and Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Overall, the league table comprises 55 countries.

EU Innovation Funds Up for Grabs
Polish businesses have until the end of July to apply for European Union funds designed to support innovative projects. The 2007-2013 EU budget earmarks 9.7 billion euros for the purpose. The first funds will be disbursed at the end of this year and go to the development of electronics, the promotion of Poland's exports, and improvements in internet access.

New Contracts for PNiG Kraków
Cracow-based oil and gas company Poszukiwania Nafty i Gazu (PNiG Kraków), part of the Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) group, has won new contracts in Kazakhstan, Mozambique and Latvia.

PNiG Kraków has drilled for and extracted oil and natural gas on international markets for more than 20 years. It employs 750 Polish workers and 603 foreigners and has subsidiaries in Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Yemen.

EU Funds Flow to Poland
Poland received a total of 656.7 million euros in EU funds in April, while contributing 264.4 million euros to the EU coffers, the Polish finance ministry has said. In the first four months of this year, Poland received 2.73 billion euros from the EU budget, while paying in 1.44 billion euros.

Hörbiger to Build Plant in Bolesławiec
Swiss company Hörbiger Automotive plans to build a factory in Bolesławiec in southwestern Poland by the end of this year to make suspension components and transmission systems for passenger cars and trucks. The factory will cost zl.47 million, or 12 million euros, to build. So far, Hörbiger has invested zl.3.5 million at Bolesławiec. The factory will create at least 341 jobs.

Lotos Launches Biofuel Line
After two years of construction, the Lotos Biopaliwa company has launched a complete installation to produce biofuel in Czechowice-Dziedzice in southern Poland. The company has invested around zl.80 million in the project, which will produce 100,000 metric tons of biodiesel fuel and 12,000 tons of glycerin. Zakłady Tłuszczowe Kruszwica, a company that makes vegetable oil and margarine, supplies rapeseed oil for the biofuel production line.

Fiat From Serbia
The Fiat car factory in Tychy in the Silesia region, southern Poland, will no longer be the only manufacturer of the Fiat 500 after 2010, according to the Autonews website. The Fiat corporation has decided to invest 700 million euros in the Zastava factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, which will roll out 300,000 cars per year beginning 2010, Autonews reported.

Ukraine Joins WTO
Ukraine officially became the 152nd member of the World Trade Organization May 16, following 14 years of membership aspirations. Ukraine signed a protocol on joining the WTO Feb. 5 in Geneva.

Consumers Upset by Growing Prices
Thirty-five percent of Polish consumers surveyed by the Millward Brown SMG/KRC market research center in May said the quality of life in the country would worsen over the coming year, while only 25 percent said the situation would improve. Forty percent of respondents said things would not change. The pessimism is chiefly due to galloping prices, particularly of food, said Millward Brown SMG/KRC, which carried out the survey for the Money.pl online news service.

World Bank: Food to Stay Expensive Until 2015
Global food prices will remain high until 2015 because of high demand in developing countries, according to World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Meanwhile, John Lipsky, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blamed intensified biofuel production for the latest increases of corn and soy prices. He also said that rice had gone up in price due to limitations on exports and panic buying.
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