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The Warsaw Voice » Business » December 19, 2013
Business & Economy
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Consumers Still Cautious
December 19, 2013   
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Ever since the global financial crisis began in 2008, Poland has outperformed other countries in Europe in terms of economic growth. However, consumer moods do not reflect the country’s relatively resilient economy. According to a recent survey by Ipsos MORI commissioned by insurer Genworth, 80 percent of consumers in Poland have reined in their spending because they are worried about their financial future. Many Poles are putting off their plans—such as buying an apartment, getting married or starting a family—until better days.

Not only young people, but all respondents say they are finding it difficult to accomplish their goals in life. Forty-four percent of respondents aged 16-60 say they would like to purchase real estate, but are convinced they cannot afford it. Thirty-seven percent of respondents are putting off major expenditures such as buying a car; 29 percent are afraid they will be unable to pay back their loans over the next five years; and 27 percent cannot imagine being able to save any money in their savings accounts in the next five years. The survey shows that 40 percent of respondents believe they are now worse off financially than a year ago, and only 24 percent say their financial condition has improved.

Despite signs of a gradual recovery in the economy, it is difficult to expect an immediate drop in unemployment or a dynamic rise in wages and consumer spending. Consumer sentiment will probably improve gradually as firms and households benefit from the improvement in the economy. Fortunately, macroeconomic indicators are getting better. Data for the third quarter of 2013 showed that domestic demand finally had a positive contribution to GDP growth—the former rose by 0.5 percent after declining for five straight quarters, while the economy grew 1.9 percent between July and September. Capital expenditure also picked up, and consumption is up too—it rose by 1 percent in the third quarter. All this means that domestic as well as foreign demand is now driving the Polish economy.

Andrzej Ratajczyk
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