Polish economy grows more than previously estimated

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Poland’s economy, the largest in central and eastern Europe, grew by more than initially estimated in the first quarter of 2021, according to updated data from the statistics office released on Monday.

The economy grew 1.1% in the January-March period from the final quarter of 2020, as company investments got back on track, according to the statistics office data. The data was revised higher from a flash estimate showing a 0.9% gain.

On a year-on-year basis, gross domestic product shrank 0.9% in the first quarter, compared with a flash estimate showing a 1.2% contraction.

The data breakdown is the first from central Europe that is due this week.

Figures from other countries are also likely to confirm the region’s economies proved resilient to surges in COVID-19 infections in the first quarter as industries, especially the key car sector, remained running despite strict lockdowns on retail and hospitality.

In Poland, investments showed a surprise increase that could bode well for the recovery expected now that the pandemic situation has calmed and more parts of the economy open up, analysts said.

“The data show that the economy is becoming resilient in the face of a pandemic,” Grzegorz Maliszewski, chief economist at Bank Millennium, said. “With the increase in investments, this gives a chance for growth to be achieved also in the following quarters.”

Photo: View of the skyline of the Polish capital of Warsaw. EPA/TOMASZ GZELL