RECENT NEWS
New York Times  Jul 24  Comment 
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that by allowing the transfer of two terrorism suspects to a secret C.I.A. site in Poland, the country violated the men’s rights.
Wall Street Journal  Jul 24  Comment 
Shares in Kingfisher dropped more than 7% after the European home improvement retailer said trading had been slower than anticipated, particularly in France and Poland
Times Online  Jul 24  Comment 
Poland was ordered to pay damages of €230,000 (£182,000) to two inmates of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by judges...
Wall Street Journal  Jul 23  Comment 
Poland's largest oil refiner PKN Orlen posted a massive second-quarter loss after it booked a write down of 5 billion zlotys ($1.63 billion) to reflect the lower value of its foreign assets, mostly a struggling Lithuanian refiner it bought from a...
newratings.com  Jul 21  Comment 
WARSAW (dpa-AFX) - Poland's corporate sector is more optimistic regarding the third quarter than they were regarding the previous three months, despite remaining concerned about the uncertainty in the euro area and the worsening conflict...
New York Times  Jul 20  Comment 
As a child, Dr. Nir had to masquerade as a Roman Catholic in German-occupied Poland, an ordeal that he turned into a well-received memoir and that guided him in treating victims of trauma.
New York Times  Jul 19  Comment 
As a child, Dr. Nir had to masquerade as a Roman Catholic in German-occupied Poland, an ordeal that he turned into a well-received memoir and that guided him in treating victims of trauma.
newratings.com  Jul 18  Comment 
WARSAW (dpa-AFX) - Poland's retail sales growth slowed unexpectedly in June, figures from the Central Statistical Office showed Wednesday. Retail sales rose 1.2 percent year-on-year in June, much slower than May's 3.8 percent growth....
Times Online  Jul 18  Comment 
Britain’s relations with Poland have worsened after it emerged that David Cameron has opposed the appointment of Donald Tusk, the...




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Poland has the largest economy in Eastern Europe, with GDP totaling $420 billion in 2007, more than double that of the Czech Republic,[1] and one of the highest levels of foreign investment at $13.9 billion as of 2006.[2] Poland's economy has been growing quickly, at about 6%, for the past 5 years, and was growing at an even faster pace before this[3]. The service sector is expanding, and costs are going up, but manufacturing remains a strength of the Polish economy. In particular, machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles are the major industries in Poland.[4]

The largest industry in Poland by revenues is the chemical manufacture sector.[5]. In addition to the chemical industry, Poland has had a very strong presence in manufacturing televisions. Over the last 5 years, Poland has produced from 25 to 35% of TV sets in Europe.[6]

Poland has a highly educated workforce, especially in math and science. This continues to be reflected in high levels of enrollment in universities. Around 65% of the college-age population was enrolled as of 2006[7]. Poland also has one of the largest labor forces in Eastern Europe, at 16.8 million individuals[8]. This is lower only than Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey, and many would not even include these countries in Eastern Europe. Additionally, wages in Poland are low compared to Western European wages. The average wage was around $16,000 annually as of the first quarter of 2008, compared to around $40,000 in neighboring Germany[9]. These factors make Poland an ideal location for sourcing and manufacturing for the broader Eastern European and Western European markets, and this is what many companies do. Approximately 70% of Poland's exports are to other EU countries[10]. This was just under $70 billion in 2005[11], and it topped $100 billion in 2007 estimates, with about $36 billion going to Germany, Poland's largest export partner.[12] Nearly 30% of Polish workers were involved in industry in 2007, and the industrial sector's share of GDP was equivalent.[13]


Major Publicly Traded Companies

Energy and Resources

  • Grupa Lotos offers a broad range of oil-based products including diesel, gas, and airplane fuel as well as lubricants and gases[16].
  • KGHM Polska Miedź is the 9th-largest producer of copper and the 3rd-largest producer of silver in the world[17]

Banking


Telecommunications


Information Technology

  • ComArch specializes in telecommunications, finance, billing, and IT security.


Foreign Companies Invested in Poland

  • Dell (DELL) currently operates two major computer manufacturing plants in Poland, having opened its second in 2008[19]
  • Sharp Corporation (SHCAY) had the largest investment in Poland in terms of dollars and jobs created in 2006.[20] It has a plant which produces TV's and LCD screens.
  • Toyota Motor (TM) has more than 500 million PLN invested in a Polish manufacturing plant for diesel engines.[21]

Exchange Traded Funds

Currently Two ETF's invest primarily in the economy of Poland. iShares MCSI Poland Investable Market Index ( NYSEArca: EPOL) and Market Vectors Poland ETF (NYSEArca:PLND).

Trends and Forces

The International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund[22]

Currency Appreciation

The value of Poland's currency has increased greatly, and much faster than many expected. As recently as 2004, the Polish Zloty was appreciating at 15%[23]. Poland's government has attempted to slow currency appreciation because of the harm it causes to foreign investors[24]. As the country becomes more prosperous and converges with the EU, it will move onto the Euro, and this tends to make the currency value higher. Poland is somewhat reluctant to move to the Euro because of these appreciation effects in part, but will likely do so by 2011 or 2012[25]. Currency appreciation is another type of "rising cost" but can be somewhat hidden. The prices of all goods go up and the relative cost paid by foreign companies goes up, and this hurts profit margins. Another aspect of the rise in currency value is high inflation, which in 2007 came out to 3.6%, just over the "acceptable" 3.4% threshold of the rest of the Euro zone[26]. These costs make doing business in Poland more expensive, lowering profits.

The International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund[27]

Rising Costs

Costs of doing business in Poland have risen rapidly since 2003. In the early 1990's, Poland was one of the best low-cost alternatives for manufacturing in Europe. Average wages were well below those of Western Europe. However, wages have risen as Western European companies invested in the country. Poland's joining the European Union in 2004 sped up this process. EU accession removed trade barriers, so companies could more easily move into Poland and workers could more easily move outward, and this put upward pressure on wages. The process of convergence continues, and in 2007 GDP per capita was nearly $12,000[28], which is more than a quarter that of the average Western European country. As wages continue to approach those of the rest of Western Europe, the cost advantage that foreign companies had in Poland will decrease and they will either leave, evolve, or lose profit. Domestic Polish companies will have to search elsewhere in Eastern Europe for cheaper labor alternatives, in countries such as Slovakia or the Balkans. As shown on the graph at right, GDP per capita in Poland has risen at an average of 10% per year over the last 18 years, while that of Germany has risen by an average of only 5%.

Labor Movement

Poland is experiencing an interesting cyclical process of labor movement. Overall, people are leaving the country; Poland has a negative net migration rate[29]. However, since 2007 there has been a shift in the types of people leaving. While over the last 10 years, skilled IT workers left for countries such as Ireland where the software sector was booking and wages were much higher than in Poland, rising wages have brought many of these highly-skilled workers back[30]. These workers bring back skills with them but also familiarity with higher standards of living, and so they will lead to increase in wages but also bring back capital. At the same time, Poland is losing other types of skilled workers, namely plumbers and electricians, who are moving to Western Europe, and so this creates problems for companies that are looking to build new operations.

Improving Infrastructure

As of the first half of 2008, Poland's infrastructure was still mixed. The World Bank Logistics Performance Index rates Poland's infrastructure as a 3.04 out of 5[31]. Travel between Poland's two largest cities can take 12 hours on a bad day, and some of the major highways are only one lane. However, EU accession has provided Poland with money for infrastructure improvement, and certain foreign investors are putting money into building roads. Overall, the infrastructure is improving, and this will make it easier for businesses to operate and reduce shipping and other logistics costs. As of the end of the first half of 2008, there was more than $37 billion invested in manufacturing by foreign companies, and this increasing number indicates that transportation and logistics are becoming less of a problem as more companies expand operations.

References

  1. The International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook database 2008
  2. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: Country Fact Sheets
  3. The International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook database 2008
  4. CIA World Factbook: Poland
  5. ICIS: Central and Eastern Europe offers chemical industry great growth prospects
  6. Poland Ministry of Economy: Yearbook of the Republic of Poland
  7. The World Bank Education Statistics
  8. CIA World Factbook: Poland
  9. Central Statistical Office of Poland
  10. Invest in Poland
  11. The Polish Embassy in Dublin: Basic Information about Poland
  12. CIA World Factbook: Poland
  13. CIA World Factbook: Poland
  14. Wikipedia:PKN_Orlen
  15. PKN Orlen Company Website
  16. Lotos Company Website
  17. KGHM Company Website
  18. Telekomunikacja Polska Company Website
  19. Dell Company Website
  20. Sharp Company Website
  21. Toyota Company Website
  22. The International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook database 2008
  23. "Zloty appreciation hits Polish farmers." Agra Europe. December 23, 2004
  24. "Polish prime minister says government hopes to curb currency's rise." The Associated Press. January 10, 2006
  25. "Poland and the Euro." The Economist. June 24, 2008
  26. "Poland and the Euro." The Economist. June 24, 2008
  27. The International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook database 2008
  28. The International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook database 2008
  29. CIA World Factbook: Poland
  30. "Shifting Fortunes: As Irish Growth Fades, Its Immigrants Depart. Polish Workers Follow the Boom Home. June 25, 2008
  31. World Bank Logistics Performance Index

Companies in the Investing in Poland Industry (351)

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