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    Poland Economy - 1991

      Overview: The economy, except for the agricultural sector, had followed the Soviet model of state ownership and control of productive assets. About 75% of agricultural production had come from the private sector and the rest from state farms. The economy has presented a picture of moderate but slowing growth against a background of underlying weaknesses in technology and worker motivation. GNP dropped by 2.0% in 1989 and by a further 8.9% in 1990. The inflation rate, after falling sharply from the 1982 peak of 100% to 22% in 1986, rose to a galloping rate of 640% in 1989 and dropped back to 250% in 1990. Shortages of consumer goods and some food items worsened in 1988-89. Agricultural products and coal are among the biggest hard currency earners, but manufactures are increasing in importance. Poland, with its hard currency debt of $48.5 billion, is severely limited in its ability to import much-needed hard currency goods. The sweeping political changes of 1989 disrupted normal economic channels and exacerbated shortages. In January 1990, the new Solidarity-led government adopted a cold turkey program for transforming Poland to a market economy. The government moved to eliminate subsidies, free prices, make the zloty convertible, and, in general, halt the hyperinflation. These financial measures were accompanied by plans to privatize the economy in stages. While inflation fell to an annual rate of 77.5% by November of 1990, the rise in unemployment and the drop in living standards have led to growing popular discontent and to a change of government in January 1991. The new government is continuing the previous government's economic program, while trying to speed privatization and to better cushion the populace from the dislocations associated with reform. Substantial outside aid will be needed if Poland is to make a successful transition in the 1990s.

      GNP: $158.5 billion, per capita $4,200; real growth rate - 8.9% (1990 est.)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 250% (1990 est.)

      Unemployment rate: 6.1% (end-December 1990)

      Budget: revenues $20.9 billion; expenditures $23.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.8 billion (1989)

      Exports: $12.9 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities--machinery and equipment 38%; fuels, minerals, and metals 21%; manufactured consumer goods 15%; agricultural and forestry products 4% (1989); partners--USSR 25%, FRG 14%, UK 6.5%, Czechoslovakia 5.5% (1989)

      Imports: $12.8 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities--machinery and equipment 37%; fuels, minerals, and metals 31%; manufactured consumer goods 17%; agricultural and forestry products 5% (1989); partners--USSR 18%, FRG 16%, Austria 6%, Czechoslovakia 6% (1989)

      External debt: $48.5 billion (January 1991)

      Industrial production: growth rate - 23% (State sector 1990 est.)

      Electricity: 31,530,000 kW capacity; 136,300 million kWh produced, 3,610 kWh per capita (1990)

      Industries: machine building, iron and steel, extractive industries, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles

      Agriculture: accounts for 15% of GNP and 27% of labor force; 75% of output from private farms, 25% from state farms; productivity remains low by European standards; leading European producer of rye, rapeseed, and potatoes; wide variety of other crops and livestock; major exporter of pork products; normally self-sufficient in food

      Economic aid: donor--bilateral aid to non-Communist less developed countries, $2.2 billion (1954-89)

      Currency: zloty (plural--zlotych); 1 zloty (Zl) = 100 groszy

      Exchange rates: zlotych (Zl) per US$1--11,100.00 (May 1991), 9,500 (1990), 1,439.18 (1989), 430.55 (1988), 265.08 (1987), 175.29 (1986), 147.14 (1985)

      Fiscal year: calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Poland on this page is re-published from the 1991 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Poland Economy 1991 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Poland Economy 1991 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 08-Feb-03
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