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The Warsaw Voice » Business » December 3, 2008
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Business in brief
December 3, 2008   
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Exports Continue to Grow

From January to September, Poland exported goods and services worth 87.8 billion euros, a 17.7-percent increase over the same period last year. Polish imports totaled 104.9 billion euros, rising by 19.9 percent. The negative trade balance thus increased to 17.1 billion euros. Poland's exports to Russia rose the fastest, by 40.3 percent, followed by Ukraine (22.7 percent), France (19.1) and the Czech Republic (18).

Scandic Enters Poland

Scandic, the largest hotel chain in Scandinavia, has acquired two Polish hotels of the Holiday Inn chain, in Wrocław (164 rooms) and Gdańsk (143 rooms). This is the first Scandic investment in Poland and it is a key element of the chain's expansion strategy in Eastern Europe. Scandic plans to increase the number of its hotels from 150 to 200 in five years.

Euro Windfall

Poland received 282.9 million euros from EU coffers in October and contributed 460.8 million euros, according to estimates from the Finance Ministry. After ten months of 2008, EU funds paid to Poland totaled 6.7 billion euros, while Poland paid less than 2.7 billion to the EU budget.

Aid for Eastern Europe

The European Parliament has approved an increase in financial aid for EU member states outside the eurozone. As proposed by Brussels, the aid will grow from 15 billion euros to 25 billion euros. A special procedure was applied to speed up the decision-making process.

Lower Forecasts for Russia

The World Bank has lowered the economic growth forecast for Russia as a result of the declining prices of oil and natural gas on global markets. Instead of the 6.8 percent forecast before the crisis, the GDP of Russia is expected to rise by 6 percent this year and a mere 3 percent next year, compared with the previously anticipated 6.5 percent in 2009. The average price of oil is expected to reach $101.50 this year and $74.50 next year.

Higher Investment by EBRD

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is planning to invest a record-breaking 7 billion euros in Central and Eastern European countries next year. Aiming to help the region deal with the effects of the global economic slowdown, the EBRD has increased the investment it previously planned in the region by more than 1 billion euros, or 20 percent.

Slovakia Revises Budget Plan

The government of Slovakia has revised its budget plan for 2009. Just a month ago, Slovak GDP growth was estimated to reach 6.5 percent next year, with a public deficit at 1.7 percent. The new plan envisages a slowdown in the Slovak economy, with GDP expected to reach 4.6 percent and the deficit 2.08 percent.

Customs Regulations Change

Fewer cigarettes but more wine, fuel and gifts can be brought into EU member states, Poland included, duty free as of Dec. 1. The new duty-free limits are a result of an amendment to EU regulations which establishes a EU system of customs exemptions.

Hungary in ERM 2?

By the end of 2009, Hungary wants to start negotiations on entering the ERM 2 system, a prerequisite for adopting the euro, Hungarian Minister of Finance Janos Veres has said. Hungary is planning to bring its public sector deficit below 3 percent of the GDP next year.

NBP Exchange Rates (December 1, 2008)

1 EUR = zl. 3.8824
1 USD = zl. 3.0762
1 CHF = zl. 2.5193
1 GBP = zl. 4.5913
100 JPY = zl. 3.2218
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