Cut the coal, please
Krakow was known for its choking smog in Communist times, when Poland’s medieval capital was bathed in the corrosive stench being pumped out by the nearby Lenin Steelworks.
Fast forward a quarter of a century, and Krakow’s air is still polluted – although the culprit is no longer the steel mill (now owned by Arcelor Mittal) but instead the thousands of people who still heat their homes with coal. The result has been some of the worst air in a still-smoggy country where coal generates about 90 per cent of Poland’s electricity. However, the local government in Krakow is now moving to ban home heating with coal over the next five years. Continue reading »
Poland is thinking of saving its national airline in the same way the Czechs have – by creating a holding company uniting the loss-making carrier with a more profitable airport and ground services operation.
Will it work? Continue reading »
If Poland had a public face over the last six years, it was that of Jacek Rostowski, the occasionally acerbic British-born finance minister who helped pilot Poland through two waves of economic crisis.
All change as of Wednesday, following the cabinet reshuffle by premier Donald Tusk which sees 62-year-old Rostowski replaced by 38-year-old Mateusz Szczurek (pictured), CEE economist for ING Bank of the Netherlands. Continue reading »
By Artur Gradziuk of the Polish Institute of International Affairs
Poland has a real image problem when it comes to climate change. Being on the defensive over more ambitious EU climate targets makes it hard for Warsaw to shift attention to aspects of its climate policy that it can be proud of.
One of these is decoupling. While Poland’s economic output doubled over the last 25 years, its greenhouse gas emissions did not increase. In fact,they shrank by more than 30 per cent. In theory, this kind of achievement should serve as an inspiration to other fast-developing countries. Continue reading »
Maybe it’s time to start preparing for a return wave of CEE migrants from western Europe, as Thursday’s flash GDP third quarter numbers show that most of the region’s economies are experiencing a sharp recovery – in contrast to stagnation in the eurozone.
While the eurozone stumbled to an anaemic 0.1 per cent growth for the quarter, Poland posted a higher-than-consensus expansion of 1.9 per cent, up from only 0.8 per cent in the second quarter.
Continue reading »
If the normally bearish Capital Economics is starting to sing the economic praises of central Europe it might be time to admit that the downturn is well and truly done and that an economic rebound is underway.
Capital Economics was bearish about the future of the euro, and gloomy about the prospects of CEE countries closely tied to the eurozone. Now that the period of greatest danger for the common currency seems to have passed, the London-based analysis outfit is turning strikingly optimistic on central Europe. Continue reading »
A mixed picture for the prospects of an economic recovery emerging Europe, according to Monday’s forecast from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
The EBRD found that the more advanced countries of central Europe will probably do a bit better than expected next year, while the rest of the post-communist region is sputtering. Continue reading »
Poland has some of the worst roads and most dire traffic death statistics in the European Union – which is why a recent decision pressing Polish authorities to allow for the registration of right-hand-drive cars is causing consternation.
According to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, Niilo Jaaskinen, advocate general of the European Court of Justice, said that Poland has been too restrictive in refusing to register cars from the UK and Ireland to drive on Polish roads. The European Commission filed a complaint against Poland over the issue in 2011. Continue reading »
By Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
In a famous joke from the communist era, a listenersends in a question to a Soviet radio station: “Is it true that cars are being given out for free on Moscow’s Red Square?”. “Generally speaking, yes – it’s true”, was the initial response. But then came a more detailed answer: “It’s happening in Leningrad, not Moscow; it’s bicycles, not cars; and they’re being stolen, not given out.”
The same can be said of somearticles published recently about Poland’s plans to reform its pension system. Generally speaking, yes – part of the assets will be transferred to a pay-as-you-go system. But the rest of the picture painted by the authors of those texts is about as true as the great car giveaway in Red Square. Continue reading »
Poland’s new treasury minister is casting doubt on the model of pressing cash-rich state controlled companies to get involved in areas distant from their own expertise – the best example being the participation of KGHM, the copper miner, in a consortium financing the hunt for shale gas.
In his first interview with the foreign press, Wlodzimierz Karpinski, who took the post six months ago, distanced himself from the idea. Continue reading »
Poles complaining about the vast amounts of tiny change clogging their wallets and pockets will have to look abroad to vent – the National Bank of Poland announced on Thursday that three of the country’s smallest denomination coins will be made by the UK’s Royal Mint.
The Mint edged out competition from the Mint of Finland, the Royal Mint of Canada and Poland’s own Mennica Polska, a listed company that until now has supplied all the bank’s coins. Continue reading »
Carrying cargo may appear to be dull but worthy work, but there is also a lot of money in it, as investors in PKP Cargo, the Polish rail cargo carrier, found out during the company’s Tuesday IPO.
The share price closed up 19.4 per cent at 81.16 zlotys ($26.70), up from its initial offering price of 68 zlotys. Continue reading »
Laying the groundwork for the largest initial public offering this year on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, PKP, the Polish state railways announced on Wednesday that it was setting a 68 zlotys ($22.30) share price for PKP Cargo, its freight subsidiary.
PKP is selling just under half of the shares in PKP Cargo in a transaction valued at 1.4bn zlotys. The money will go towards reducing PKP’s 4bn zlotys in debt, of which 1bn zlotys is coming due.
Continue reading »
The numbers are not head-turners, but the latest retail sales data out of Poland show the country continuing a steady, if unspectacular, economic revival – which means continued support for current low interest rates.
Retail sales in September grew by an annual 3.9 per cent, below analysts expectations of 4.7 per cent but still enough to show that the economy is rebounding from a sharp slump in the first half of the year. Continue reading »
One of the most successful recent banking start-ups in Europe has hit a serious bump.
Shares in Poland’s Alior Bank plunged by as much as 22 per cent on Friday morning on the Warsaw Stock Exchange following a profit warning released Thursday evening due to a change in accounting standards for insurance fees by the country’s banking sector regulator. More over at fastFT.