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The Warsaw Voice » Business » February 4, 2009
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Business in brief
February 4, 2009   
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IMF Lowers Growth Forecast
The global economy will grow 1-1.5 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is down on the 2.2 percent the organization was predicting as recently as November last year.

Poland Pumps Out More Vehicles
Poland produced 842,000 passenger vehicles last year, a 20.6-percent increase over the previous year, according to the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The country also produced 99,200 more trucks and articulated trucks, a 15.3-percent increase, and 28.1 percent more public transport vehicles.

Voluntary Layoffs at Zelmer
Zelmer, Poland's largest household appliance manufacturer, is introducing a program of voluntary layoffs this month amid the international economic crisis. The program will continue until the end of April and 100 of the company's 2,390 staff are expected to apply. Zelmer is based in the southeastern city of Rzeszów.

Foreign Direct Investment Down
Worldwide foreign direct investment (FDI) reached $1.4 trillion (1.05 trillion euros) last year, 21 percent down on 2007, according to UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates. UNCTAD says that 2008 saw the end of a four-year upward climb in FDI and that there will be a further fall this year as businesses cut costs.

Navy Splashes Out on Submarine
The Polish navy is spending 600 million euros on a Type 214 diesel-electric submarine from German shipbuilder HDW. The vessel was originally built for the Greek navy three years ago but the Greeks withdrew from the purchase. The Type 214 carries a crew of 27 and an assault team. It comes with the latest reconnaissance and command systems, has eight torpedo launchers and can fire Harpoon rockets. Kiel-based HDW is Germany's largest shipbuilding company and has been part of Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems since 2005.

More Coal on the Way
Polish coal mining behemoth Kompania Węglowa, which works 16 mines and produces more than half of Poland's, and 30 percent of the EU's, hard coal is planning to stem a decline in coal extraction and has a war chest of around zl.1.2 billion set aside for investment. Extraction this year is expected to be 300,000 metric tons up on last year.

Russian Workers Unpaid
Unpaid salaries in Russia amounted to $156 million at the beginning of January and some 300,000 people were waiting to be paid. This was a 40-percent increase over the previous month and the chief offenders are construction, agricultural and transport companies, and cultural institutions.

Food Prices Soar in Belarus
Food prices have jumped 20-50 percent in Belarus since the Belarusian rouble was devalued against the U.S. dollar in January, according to local media. This is said to be the result of a booming demand for technical equipment and U.S. currency, in addition to food. The price of food, especially fruit, took off during the first half of January. Tangerines went up nearly 60 percent, apples 46 percent, and lemons 45 percent, according to the Belarusian Economy Ministry.

The government has decided to inspect those stores that have raised their prices. These risk having their operating licenses revoked should an inspector deem their price increases excessive.

NBP Exchange Rates (February 2, 2009)
1 EUR = zl. 4.4366
1 USD = zl. 3.4828
1 CHF = zl. 2.9883
1 GBP = zl. 4.9455
100 JPY = zl. 3.9163
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