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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 7, 2009
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Business in brief
January 7, 2009   
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WB Loan for Poland

The World Bank will grant Poland a 975-million-euro loan to finance key government reforms, under an agreement the Polish government signed with the bank Dec. 23. The money will be used to improve the management of public finances, increase employment, and stimulate the development of the private sector.

More Bankruptcies Worldwide

The ongoing financial crisis and economic slowdown are causing growing numbers of companies to go bankrupt around the world. According to the Euler Hermes insurance company, more than 276,000 businesses in Western Europe, Japan and the United States may declare themselves bankrupt this year, over 20 percent more than in 2008.

No Threat of Deflation in Eurozone: ECB

The 15 countries using the single European currency are in no risk of deflation, according to Lucas Papademos, vice-governor of the European Central Bank. Even though most eurozone economies will see decline in prices due to factors such as cheaper oil, this will be a short-lived trend that will soon peter out, Papademos said.

New Power Plant in the Pipeline

The Puławy Nitrogen Plant in eastern Poland made a deal with Swedish energy corporation Vattenfall at the end of December to jointly build a conventional coal-fired power plant with a capacity of 1,400 MW. Each partner will hold 50 percent of the stock in the joint-venture company that will carry out the project. The project may also involve other businesses, such as Lubelski Węgiel Bogdanka.

Lower Incomes for Farmers

Polish farmers reported a 15.9-percent decline in incomes in 2008 compared with 2007, according to the EU statistical office, Eurostat. Things were even worse in Latvia, where farmer incomes shrank by 17.5 percent, Eurostat said. Estonia reported a 22.1-percent decline and Belgium stole the show with a record 25.6 percent. The newest EU member states, Bulgaria and Romania, were the best off in the EU, owing primarily to direct payments from the EU budget, which boosted the 2008 incomes of Bulgarian and Romanian farmers by 24.5 and 21.4 percent respectively.

Disasters Costly for Insurers

Insurance companies worldwide paid out more than $50 billion to clients last year in compensation for material damage caused by both natural and manmade disasters, according to preliminary statistics from the Swiss Re reinsurance company.

Plan B for Germany

The government of Angela Merkel is working on a new legislation package to stimulate the German economy. The plan will be unveiled after Barack Obama is sworn in as U.S. president Jan. 20. The new package will include personal income tax allowances, lower mandatory health insurance contributions, investment in infrastructure, and tax breaks for low-income earners.

CEZ to Build Nuclear Power Plant in Slovakia

Czech energy corporation CEZ will build a nuclear power plant in Slovakia to make up for a power shortage resulting from the planned closure of two reactors built in the communist era. The new power plant, to be built in Jaslovske Bohunice, will be completed in 2020 at a cost of 4-6 billion euros.

NBP Exchange Rates (January 5, 2009)

1 EUR = zl. 4.1137
1 USD = zl. 3.0088
1 CHF = zl. 2.7297
1 GBP = zl. 4.3568
100 JPY = zl. 3.2352
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