Poland (officially the Republic of Poland) is a country in Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges (the Sudetes and the Carpathian Mountains) in the south. Bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) and Lithuania to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometers (120,726 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the 8th most populous country in Europe and the sixth most populous member of the European Union, as well as the most populous post-communist member of the European Union. Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions and its capital and largest city is Warsaw. Other metropolises include Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin. The country's largest urban agglomeration is the Silesian Metropolis.
The Polish banking sector is regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (PFSA).
While transforming the country to a market-oriented economy during 1992–97, the government privatized some banks, recapitalized the rest and introduced legal reforms that made the sector competitive. These reforms and the health and relative stability of the sector attracted a number of strategic foreign investors. At the beginning of 2009, Poland's banking sector had 51 domestic banks, a network of 578 cooperative banks and 18 branches of foreign-owned banks. In addition, foreign investors had controlling stakes in nearly 40 commercial banks, which made up 68% of the banking capital.Banks in Poland reacted to the financial crisis of 2009 by restraining lending, raising interest rates, and strengthening balance sheets. Subsequently, the sector started lending again, with an increase of more than 4% expected in 2011.
|Agriculture||Fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy products, wheat, feed grains, vegetable oil, and protein meals.|
|Manufacture||Energy, Machinery, Equipment.|
|Services (Including financial)||62.3% (2012 estimate)|
The Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE), Polish: Gie?da Papierów Warto?ciowych w Warszawie, is a stock exchange located in Warsaw, Poland. It has a capitalization of PLN 1 123 bln (283 bln USD; as of Dec 4, 2015). The WSE is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges and the Federation of European Securities Exchanges. On 17 December 2013, the WSE also joined the United Nation's Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative.
Since the global recession of 2008, Poland's GDP continued to grow. In 2009, at the high point of the crisis, the GDP for the European Union as a whole dropped by 4.5% while Polish GDP increased by 1.6%. As of November 2013, the size of EU's economy remains below the pre-crisis level, while Poland's economy increased by a cumulative 16%. The major reasons for its success appear to be a large internal market (in terms of population is sixth in the EU) and a business friendly political climate. The economic reforms implemented after the fall of socialism in the 1990s have also played a role; between 1989 and 2007 Poland's economy grew by 177%, faster than other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, while at the same time millions were left without work.
Another factor which allowed the Polish economy to avoid the financial crisis was its low level of public debt, at about 50% of GDP, below the EU average (around 90%). Strict financial regulation also helped to keep household and corporate debt low. Furthermore, unlike many other European countries, Poland did not implement austerity but rather boosted domestic demand through Keynesian policy of tax cut, and foreign-assistance funded public spending. An additional reason for its success lay in the fact that Poland is outside the Euro zone. The depreciation of the currency, the z? oty, increased international competitiveness and boosted the value of Poland's exports (in z? otys).
However, the economic fluctuations of the business cycle did affect Poland's unemployment rate, which by early 2013 reached almost 11%. This level was still below the European average and has begun falling subsequently. As of February 2014, Poland's unemployment rate stood at 7% according to Eurostat.
The establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe. The Commonwealth ceased to exist in the years 1772–95 when its territory was partitioned among Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. Poland regained its independence (as the Second Polish Republic) at the end of World War I, in 1918.
In September 1939, World War II started with the invasions of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (as part of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact). More than six million Polish citizens died in the war. The borders of Poland were shifted westwards according to the Potsdam Conference in the aftermath of World War II. After the war, with the backing of the Soviet Union, a communist puppet government was formed, and after a falsified referendum in 1946, it took control of the country—turning Poland into a satellite state of the Soviet Union (as the People's Republic of Poland). During the Revolutions of 1989, Poland's Communist government was overthrown and Poland adopted a new constitution establishing itself as a democracy. Despite a large number of casualties and destruction the country experienced during World War II, the country managed to preserve much of its cultural wealth. There are 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage and 54 Historical Monuments and many objects of cultural heritage in Poland.
Since the beginning of the transition to a primarily market-based economy that took place in the early 1990s, Poland has achieved a "very high" ranking on the Human Development Index, as well as gradually improving economic freedom. Poland is a democratic country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life and a very high standard of living. Moreover, the country is visited by nearly 16 million tourists every year (2013), which makes it one of the most visited countries in the world. Poland is the eighth largest economy in the European Union and among the fastest growing European economies. Furthermore, according to the Global Peace Index for 2014, Poland is one of the safest countries in the world to live in.
Poland's the high-income economy is considered to be one of the largest of the post-Communist countries and is one of the fastest growing within the EU. Having a strong domestic market, low private debt, flexible currency, and not being dependent on a single export sector, Poland is the only European economy to have avoided the late-2000s recession. Since the fall of the communist government, Poland has pursued a policy of liberalizing the economy. It is an example of the transition from a centrally planned to a primarily market-based economy. The country's most successful exports include machinery, furniture, food products, clothing, shoes, and cosmetics. Poland's largest trading partner is Germany.
The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms have allowed the development of the private sector. Also, several consumer rights organizations have become active in the country. Restructuring and privatization of "sensitive sectors" such as coal, steel, rail transport, and energy have been continuing since 1990. The biggest privatizations have been the sale of the national telecoms firm Telekomunikacja Polska to France Télécom in 2000, and an issue of 30% of the shares in Poland's largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, on the Polish stock market in 2004.
The Polish banking sector is the largest in East Central/Eastern European region, with 32.3 branches per 100,000 adults. The banks are the largest and most developed sector of the country's financial markets. They are regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. During the transformation to a market-oriented economy, the government privatized several banks, recapitalized the rest, and introduced legal reforms that made the sector more competitive. This has attracted a significant number of strategic foreign investors (ICFI). Poland's banking sector has approximately 5 national banks, a network of nearly 600 cooperative banks and 18 branches of foreign-owned banks. In addition, foreign investors have controlling stakes in nearly 40 commercial banks, which make up 68% of the banking capital.
Poland has a large number of private farms in its agricultural sector, with the potential to become a leading producer of food in the European Union. The biggest money-makers abroad include smoked and fresh fish, fine chocolate, and dairy products, meats and specialty bread, with the exchange rate conducive to export growth. Food exports amounted to 62 billion zloty in 2011, increasing by 17% from 2010. Structural reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have resulted in larger-than-expected fiscal pressures. Warsaw leads Central Europe in foreign investment. GDP growth had been strong and steady from 1993 to 2000 with only a short slowdown from 2001 to 2002, also the country avoided recession in 2008.
John Paul II
(Roman Catholic Pope)
The z?oty (PLN), which literally means "golden", is the currency of Poland. The modern z?oty is subdivided into 100 groszy (singular: grosz; alternative plural form: grosze). The recognized English form of the word is zloty, plural zloty or zlotys. The currency sign, z?, is composed of the Polish lower-case letters z.
As a result of inflation in the early 1990s, the currency underwent redenomination. Thus, on January 1, 1995, 10,000 old z?otych (PLZ) became one new z?oty (PLN). Since then, the currency has been relatively stable, with an exchange rate fluctuating between 2 and 4.5 z?oty for a United States dollar. New Poland started releasing new currency – Polish marks, after the defeat of the German Empire and Austro-Hungary. The first banknotes had either Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko (5, 10, 100, 1000 marks) or Queen Jadwiga (10 and 500 marks). 1 and 20 marks also circulated, but they showed nobody on the banknotes. The Polish marka was extremely unstable because of the constant wars with its neighbors. Attempts to reduce the expenditures of the Polish budget were vain – all the money gained went to conduct war with the USSR. To complicate the matters, those attempts did not please the elite, which ruled the country. The government's actions were not popular at all, so the taxes did not rise significantly, so as not to gain resent from people. Even worse, the territories that made up Poland have rightly coined "the country of three parts", as each part of Poland developed differently during the 123 years after Stanis?aw, II Augustus' abdication, with post-Prussian territories the best developed, and Galicia and Kresy the worst.
The last attempt to save the Polish marka was made in 1921 when Jerzy Michalski made out his own plan to raise taxes and shorten expenditures. The Sejm accepted it, but made a lot of corrections. The realization of that plan did not succeed, and it had only short-term influence. This disrupted the whole economy of Poland, and galloping inflation began. The 1?2 marek and 5,000 marek banknotes became worthless in two years. As hyperinflation progressed, Poland came to print 1, 5 and 10 million mark banknotes. However, they were not worth much. 10 million marks cost only US$1,073 in January 1924. Some immediate action had to be taken. W?adys?aw Grabski was invited to stop the pending hyperinflation. The second Polish z?oty was created. When the second z?oty was created, it was pegged to the US dollar. The Sejm was a weak institution when it came to financial control in the country. Parties demanded the government to spend more money, which was not foreseen in the budget.
The deficit in the budget occurred, and inflation was at the brink of coming out of control. The government tried with all efforts to cut the expenditures, and it often came into conflict with the Sejm. However, the government didn't allow the hyperinflation to come again. To achieve that, the government made an emission of securities, which went along with the temporary "bilety zdawkowe", coins and z?oty banknotes printed in 1919.
By the end of 1925 the Polish government couldn't pay off the released securities. The economy of Poland was at the brink of crack. Even though, Grabski refused to receive foreign help, because he was afraid Poland would become dependent from the League of Nations. The Polish PM thought that as soon as z?oty would become stable, the foreign creditors would give credits and investments on more favorable conditions that were proposed at that time. However, the lack of trust in the Polish economy had made these thoughts impossible. Because of Grabski's position, Poland was trying to attract foreign investors. His government was forced to sell some country's property on unfavorable conditions, without any significant effects. In total, z?oty has become 50% cheaper than it was in 1923, Grabski resigned from his post, however, the hyperinflation was averted. Problems further occurred in Poland's economy, especially because of the 1920 social protection act. It was now evident that the system can't work anymore. The apogeum of the crisis came in November 1925. PPS demanded to make a so-called sanation. On 14 November 1925 Pi?sudski claimed he was disturbed by such a crisis.
|National Song||"Mazurek Dąbrowskiego"|
|GDP||$1054.13 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||-0.6 percent|
|GDP Per Capita||$27764.26(PPP)|
87.58% Roman Catholic
1.63% Not stated
President- Andrzej Duda
Prime Minister- Mateusz Morawiecki
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||54.2 percent of GDP|
|Unemployment Rate||6.2 percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|