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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 25, 2008
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Business in brief
June 25, 2008   
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NBP Exchange Rates June 23, 2008

1 EUR = zl. 3.3657
1 USD = zl. 2.1681
1 CHF = zl. 2.0785
1 GBP = zl. 4.2635
100 JPY = zl. 2.0127

FDI at High Ebb

Poland attracted 12.8 billion euros in foreign direct investment (FDI) last year, according to preliminary data by the country's central bank. Considering capital in transit-or money that foreign investors in Poland received from their parent companies to be invested in other countries-the figure exceeded 15 billion euros, approaching the 2006 level. Experts expect the FDI inflow to remain high in the following years.

The largest investors last year included companies from the electronic sector: LG with 850 million euros, Dell with 200 million euros, and Sharp with 150 million euros. Car maker Ford invested 100 million euros.

EU Newcomers Coping Well: World Bank

The new member countries of the European Union have weathered the recent turmoil on global financial markets and they have also learned to deal with growing raw-material prices and inflation, according to a new World Bank report on the economic development of the countries that joined the EU in 2004. The report does not cover Malta and Cyprus.

This year's high inflation in most new EU member countries has prompted the countries' central banks to tighten monetary policies, said Thomas Laursen, World Bank chief economist for Central Europe and the Baltic states, commenting on the report.

Balcerowicz to Head Brussels Think Tank

Leszek Balcerowicz, former governor of Poland's central bank and the architect of the country's transition to a market economy, has been appointed chairman of the Bruegel Research Institute, a prestigious European economic think tank in Brussels. Balcerowicz replaced Mario Monti, an Italian politician and former EU commissioner for competition, who chaired the institute from its launch in January 2005. Over the years, Bruegel has gained recognition as a think tank analyzing the EU's economic and financial policies.

"The unique experience and reputation of Leszek Balcerowicz will be crucial for the next phase of Bruegel's development," said French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry, who manages the think tank's day-to-day operations.

Bank Merger

Fortis Bank and Dominet Bank are planning to merge July 1 next year. The merged bank, called Fortis, will be Poland's 11th largest bank in terms of assets.

Fortis Bank focuses on well-off retail clients and companies, while Dominet Bank concentrates on the consumer finance market. By the end of this year, the two banks expect to have 280 outlets between them, and plan to open at least 200 new outlets by 2012.

Report: Poland Mid-Pack Among New EU States

With its robust 6.5-percent GDP growth, Poland was among the fastest growing economies in the European Union last year, after Latvia, Slovakia, Lithuania and Estonia, according to the Poland-Competitiveness Report 2008: Focus on Services report by the Warsaw School of Economics' World Economy Research Institute. In terms of GDP per capita, Poland performed well below the EU average, the report says, outpacing only two other member states, Romania and Bulgaria. Poland's per capita GDP amounted to 13,500 euros last year, versus 24,700 euros in the EU as a whole. In terms of socioeconomic development, Poland was ranked fourth among the 10 new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe, behind Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, but ahead of Slovakia, the three Baltic states, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Russia Tells Ukraine to Stop Black Sea Oil Drilling

Russia's foreign ministry demanded in mid-June that Ukraine halt oil extraction in parts of the Black Sea because of a territorial dispute, Russian news agencies reported, according to Reuters.

The activities of Ukrainian energy companies "are of an illegal nature and must be halted," Itar-Tass news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

Political ties between Moscow and Kiev are strained because of Russian opposition to Ukraine's NATO membership bid and disputes over the price at which Russia sells gas to its ex-Soviet neighbor. The government in Kiev recently threatened to increase Russian gas transit charges. In turn, Russia wants to double the price of gas delivered to Ukraine as of 2009.
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