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Strong foreign trade growth in October caused by statistical factors


Foreign trade posted a solid rebound in October. Though this might not be immediately evident from the cumulative Central Statistical Office (GUS) figures for the first 10 months of 2012, data from the National Bank of Poland (NBP) clearly show a stark improvement. According to the NBP, in October Polish exports of goods jumped by 15.5% y-o-y while imports grew by 7.6% y-o-y, compared with declines of 0.8% y-o-y and 3.2% y-o-y the month before.

In our view, the results are not indicative of any abrupt reversal of negative economic trends and resurgence of demand, however. Rather, they are attributable to statistical factors, such as a lower base of comparison and especially more working days than a year earlier. The recession in the eurozone continues to bear down on export orders, while imports are being hurt by a significant weakening of domestic demand. And we do not expect foreign trade conditions to improve anytime soon. One indication of this are poor PMI readings for eurozone’s, and Germany’s, manufacturing in December. Both came in at 46.3 points, well below the 50-point threshold that separates growth from contraction. Though concerns over Greece and the southern periphery nations have temporarily abated, boosting stock market sentiment, the problems afflicting the monetary bloc are far from resolved. The spectre of a Greek default and the necessity of painful public-finance adjustments in many other crisis-stricken countries mean the 2013 outlook for the eurozone is not optimistic. It is true that the situation in Germany, which is the main recipient of Polish exports, is relatively good. However, under prevailing circumstances, the high growth rates in foreign trade seen in October are unlikely to be maintained in the months ahead.

Paweł Sionko
Construction Market Analyst, PMR

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