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IMF: Polish economy to grow 2.5% in 2012


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects GDP growth in Poland to be 2.5% next year, i.e. the same as forecast by the Finance Ministry in the redrafted 2012 budget, James Morsink, the IMF mission chief for Poland said on 9 December, as the Fund completed its annual staff visit to the country.

In the visit’s concluding statement, the IMF notes that Poland’s growth in 2011 has been robust and well-balanced, attesting to its sound fundamentals and track record of strong policies, but that the economy is expected to slow due to the deteriorating external outlook, with substantial downside risks posed by the possibility of escalating crisis in the rest of Europe. Though the country’s lower share of exports to GDP and well-capitalised and profitable banking system means it may be less affected than some other countries, the IMF projects that GDP growth in Poland will slow to 2.5% in 2012, "with large uncertainties around this forecast".

The IMF welcomed ongoing "substantial" fiscal consolidation measures implemented by the government and expressed strong support for its latest reform plans, most notably an increase in the statutory retirement age and an overhaul of special pension schemes, due to be enacted in the first half of 2012.

The Fund also expressed support for Poland’s central bank’s recent interventions in the foreign exchange market to counter disorderly movements of the exchange rate; and it welcomed plans by the Financial Supervisory Commission (KNF) to encourage banks with riskier profiles to retain profits, so as to strengthen their capital bases. According to the Fund, though the banking sector in Poland has continued to perform strongly, the large external downside risks and the associated risk to asset quality mean the sector’s resilience should be strengthened further.

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