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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 17, 2009
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Business in brief
June 17, 2009   
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NBP Exchange Rates (June 15, 2009)
1 EUR = zl. 4.5009
1 USD = zl. 3.2434
1 CHF = zl. 2.9773
1 GBP = zl. 5.3177
100 JPY = zl. 3.3045

Unemployment Down
Unemployment in Poland dropped to 10.8 percent in May, from 11 percent in April, according to labor ministry data.

The jobless rate decreased in 15 of 16 provinces, with the sharpest declines in Lublin, West Pomerania and Warmia-Mazuria provinces, by 4 percent, 3.3 percent and 3 percent respectively.

Fewer Tourists
Poland attracted 2.63 million tourists in the first three months of this year, according to data by the Institute of Tourism. This was 19 percent less than in the same period last year.

Foreign tourists visiting Poland in the first quarter of this year spent an average of $334 per person and almost $70 per day.

Loan for Warsaw Beltway
The European Investment Bank has granted Poland a 565-million-euro loan to help finance the construction of a beltway in Warsaw. The road, with a total length of 29 kilometers, will cost an estimated 1.1 billion euros to build.

The government will also use European Union structural funds to finance the project.

New Look Eyeing Poland
British clothing brand New Look is planning to enter Poland, the company's CEO Carl McPhail has told the Reuters agency.

The company is also about to launch its first stores in Ukraine and is also looking for partners to expand its chain through franchising.

Russia in Crisis
The Russian economy may shrink by a staggering 7.5 percent this year, a figure that would mark its worst annual performance in 15 years, according to analysts with global investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Personal consumption in Russia decreased by 7 percent in the first quarter of this year, and capital investment fell by 15 percent, Goldman Sachs said.

Next year Goldman Sachs expects Russia's GDP to grow by 3 percent.

Germany Still Largest Export Market
Germany accounted for 26.6 percent of Poland's total exports in the first quarter of this year, increasing its share by 1.1 percentage points from the same period last year, according to Poland's Central Statistical Office (GUS).

Imports from Germany decreased by 1.9 percentage points, accounting for 21.6 percent of Poland's total purchases abroad.

The balance of trade with Germany in the first quarter of this year was positive for Poland, at zl.3.2 billion.

Germany has been Poland's largest trade partner for years.

Latvia in Trouble
Latvia's national currency, the lat, may depreciate by up to 50 percent against the euro over the next year, according to economists from investment bank Merrill Lynch.

The current pegged exchange rate of the lat to the euro is 3.4527, but some analysts say Latvia may be forced to abandon the peg or re-set it at a lower rate as the country battles the effects of the global economic crisis.

In the first three months of this year, the Latvian economy shrank by 18.6 percent, marking the worst decline in the entire European Union.

Unless the budget is amended and government spending curbed, the country's 2009 budget deficit may widen to 9.2 percent of the GDP, Latvian officials said.

New Biogas Plant
Danish pig breeding company Poldanor is to build a zl.8-million agricultural biogas plant in northern Poland.

The facility, located in the village of Nac³aw, will be the fifth agricultural biogas plant in this country. It will produce electricity and heat from pig manure.
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