Polish GDP Grew More Than Initial Estimate in First Quarter

Poland’s economy grew at a quicker pace in the first three months than an initial estimate, fueled by growing net exports and recovering consumption.

Gross domestic product rose 0.5 percent from a year earlier, compared with a preliminary 0.4 percent estimate released May 14, according to a statement today from the Central Statistical Office in Warsaw. The reading matched the median estimate of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Growth in the European Union’s largest eastern economy has slowed as the 17-nation euro region, which buys more than half of Polish exports, remains stuck in a record-long recession. Net exports remain the only driver of the economy, according to Bank Millennium economist Grzegorz Maliszewski.

“There are no signs of what could stimulate economic growth in the future, so the expected recovery will be anemic,” Maliszewski wrote today by e-mail. The uncertain outlook will hold back corporate investment and public spending won’t fill the gap, he said.

The zloty weakened to 4.2314 per euro at 1:08 p.m. in Warsaw from 4.1918 yesterday. The yield on the benchmark two-year zloty bond rose three basis points to 2.61 percent.

‘Safety Cushion’

The data show Poland’s “growth engine was slowed to a crawl while avoiding a recession,” Elzbieta Chojna-Duch of the central bank’s Monetary Policy Council said today in an interview on TVN CNBC. While there’s room to cut rates, Chojna-Duch told the broadcaster she favors “less radical” reductions that would give the central bank a “safety cushion” in case the economy gets buffeted by external shocks later this year.

Private consumption and fixed investment improved from the fourth quarter, according to today’s figures. Private consumption was unchanged from a year earlier, compared with a 0.2 percent decline in the October-December period, while fixed investment fell 2 percent, paring the fourth quarter’s 4.1 percent drop, the statistics office said.

“The most important thing is private consumption, because that allows us to gauge consumers’ propensity to spend or to save and could set the consumption track for all of 2013,” Radoslaw Bodys, chief economist at PKO Bank Polski in Warsaw, wrote today in an e-mailed research note before the release.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Eglitis in Riga at aeglitis@bloomberg.net

Marta Waldoch in Warsaw at mwaldoch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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