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Optmistic macroeconomic data for March


Macroeconomic data for March considerably brightened the economic picture. Industrial output growth accelerated for another consecutive month, while retail sales enjoyed a solid rebound after stagnating in February. And although these strong results were partly helped by seasonal factors (the advent of spring, pre-Easter shopping) and statistical effects (a higher number of working days compared with a year ago, a low reference base), they point to a substantial recovery of demand that gives genuine cause for optimism, with a pick-up observed both in foreign demand (thanks to improving global economic conditions) and on the domestic front (thanks to lessened worries about the near future). There was one bit of bad news, though, namely that the collapse in construction-assembly output that started in January continued last month. However, it was mainly the result of winter stoppages, and activity is set to return to positive territory in this sector as well, in the months ahead. Meanwhile, inflation softened over the analysed period, and is now near the central bank’s inflationary target. The situation on the labour market also looks slightly more optimistic: employment rosters stopped falling in March while the registered jobless rate declined marginally. Nevertheless, it is the difficult labour market situation and persisting uncertainty about the durability of the global recovery that, together with the very high central budget deficit, remain the major impediments to rapid economic expansion in Poland going forward. It should also be remembered that whilst economic conditions are steadily improving, strong increases will be harder to achieve in the second half of the year, as low base effects disappear. Even so, our expectations for the coming months are moderately optimistic. We forecast GDP growth of 2.6% this year, but with favourable macroeconomic developments, a growth rate of 3% appears entirely realistic.

Paweł Sionko
Construction Market Analyst, PMR

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