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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Poland has emerged as a dynamic market over the past 25 years and has become a major actor within Europe, being the tenth-largest economy in the EU. The country recovered well from the global Covid-19-induced crisis, with GDP returning to its pre-pandemic level already in the second quarter of 2021. In 2022, the Polish economy grew an estimated 3.8% with industrial output and retail sales expanding at a solid pace in the first semester of the year. Private consumption also grew, partly boosted by Ukrainian refugee spending and by the recovery from the pandemic, but investment slowed sharply. Economic growth is set to turn negative at the beginning of 2023 due to elevated cost pressures and increasing financing costs. However, private consumption is expected to remain strong and overall growth should pick up over the year, with the IMF expecting GDP growth to enter positive territory (+0.5%). In 2024, the easing of supply bottlenecks should support exports, with growth forecasted at 3.1%.

An expansionary fiscal policy and income tax cuts lead to an increase in the general government deficit in 2022, estimated at 4.2% of GDP (was 3.1% one year earlier). The measures taken to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices included the lowering of VAT rates, cash heating subsidies to households, and a multi-annual support scheme for energy-intensive industries and weighted for around 2.1% of GDP. Despite a multi-annual programme of investment in defence that should increase spending in this area up to 3% of GDP per year, the IMF sees a lower budget deficit in 2023 (3.7% of GDP). The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is relatively low and was estimated at 48.7% in 2022. It is forecast to decrease further this year (to 45.1%) before picking up again in 2024 (46.2% - IMF). Rising energy prices, growing demand and supply-side bottlenecks have contributed to a steady and robust hike in inflation, which reached a record-high level of 13.8% in 2022. Continued wage growth, the pass-through of elevated energy prices, and significant policy support are set to continue fuelling core inflation, which is projected at 14.3% in 2023, before it decelerates to 4.3% towards the end of 2024.
The unemployment rate has been structurally low in recent years (just above 3%), though around one in four employees have temporary contracts, twice the EU average. The labour market has proved resilient to the crisis, although emerging labour shortages could act as a significant drag on employment growth in the near future. In 2022, minimum wage rises and tax changes associated with the “Polish Deal” fiscal stimulus programme added to wage pressures but partly helped households purchasing power. Nevertheless, the European Commission warns that a higher-than-expected increase in inflation arising from supply constraints and labour shortages may weigh on purchasing power and private consumption growth. The average unemployment rate stood at 2.8% in 2022 and is seen to increase only slightly over the forecast horizon, to 3.2% this year and 3.4% in 2024 (IMF). The GDP per capita (PPP) of Polish citizens was USD 42,466 in 2022, still 21.3% lower than that of the EU-27 (data IMF). Finally, there are still large disparities between the east and the west of the country.

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 599.46679.52688.30748.89800.48
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 15,79317,95818,28019,91321,315
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.5-1.8-3.9-4.4-3.8
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 57.253.849.650.751.7
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 14.88-9.49-21.69-18.08-16.97
Current Account (in % of GDP) 2.5-1.4-3.2-2.4-2.1

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

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Main Sectors of Industry

In Poland, agriculture employs 9% of the active population and contributes about 2.2% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). More than 60% of Poland’s total land area is taken up by farming, and the country is generally self-sufficient in terms of its food supply. The sown area in 2021 was 10.9 million ha, the main crops being rye, potatoes, beetroot, wheat and dairy products. Poland also breeds pigs and sheep in livestock farming. The country is relatively rich in natural resources and the main minerals produced are coal, sulphur, copper, lead and zinc. According to the Polish Agricultural Market Agency (ARR), there are roughly 1.5 million small family farms of less than 9 ha in the country, and the average area of agricultural land of farms amounts to 11.1 ha. Around 20,000 farms use organic farming production methods (Statistics Poland – latest data).

The industry sector comprises 27.9% of GDP and employs 32% of the workforce. The World Bank estimates that the manufacturing industry's value-added accounts for 17% of the Polish GDP (latest data available). The country's main industrial sectors are machine manufacturing, telecommunications, environment, transport, construction, industrial food processing and IT. Some of the traditional sectors have been in decline, such as the steel and shipbuilding industries. The Polish automobile industry is mainly export-oriented and had been highly resistant to the effects of the 2008 economic crisis; however, it has been the worst-hit domestic sector in the coronavirus pandemic (also due to the chip shortages). In recent years, the country has diversified its manufacturing industry, developing sectors such as electrical appliances and clothing production. According to the latest yearly data by Statistics Poland, the value of sold production of industrial products increased by 23% y-o-y in 2021, with that of the gas sector, in particular, growing by 115%.

The tertiary sector represents 56.9% of GDP, employing about 59% of the active population. The sector has been booming in recent years, especially for financial services, logistics, IT and tourism; this one, in particular, has seen impressive growth: after declining due to the COVID-related restrictions, the sector recovered quickly and in the first half of 2022 Poland recorded 14.7 million overnight stays (of which 2.3 million regarding foreign tourists), up by 177.1% compared to the same period one year earlier. Concerning the banking sector, it is made up of 30 commercial banks (of which 8 are controlled by the State Treasury, accounting for 41.1% of the sector’s total assets), 511 cooperative banks and 37 branches of credit institutions (European Banking Federation).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 9.1 32.1 58.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 2.2 27.9 56.9
Value Added (Annual % Change) -11.1 3.4 8.9

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Polish Zloty (PLN) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 3.943.783.613.803.90

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Poland is open to international trade, which represents 112% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The geographical location gives Poland strategic importance: the country is in fact situated halfway between Paris and Moscow and between Stockholm and Budapest, and it has important ports that are connected to the North Sea through the Baltic Sea. In addition, the country constitutes an excellent place for the export of merchandise to the former Soviet republics. According to figures by Statistics Poland, the country mainly exports machinery and transport equipment (37.1%), manufactured goods (18.3%), food and live animals (10.4%), and chemicals and related products (9.7%). Imports are led by similar product categories: machinery and transport equipment (34.5%), manufactured goods (17.6%), chemicals and related products (14.7%), and food and live animals (6.7%).

In 2021, the main trading partners were Germany (28.8%), the Czech Republic (5.9%), France (5.7%) and the United Kingdom (5%); while the top import origins were Germany (20.9%), China (14.8%), Russia (5.9%), and Italy (5%). Overall, the EU accounts for 75.1% of Poland’s total exports and 54.1% of its imports (data Statistics Poland).

Since Poland became a member of the European Union, its exports have increased by more than 30%. The country historically had a structurally negative trade balance; nevertheless, since 2013 this trend has reversed: when computing both goods and services, in 2021 Poland had a positive trade balance estimated at 3.4% of its GDP (it was 5.7% one year earlier - World Bank). According to data from WTO, in 2021 the country exported USD 337.9 billion worth of goods (+24.6% year-on-year), whereas imports stood at USD 338.3 billion (+31.5% y-o-y). Concerning services, exports stood at USD 80.5 billion (+20.2% y-o-y), with imports increasing at a faster pace (+23% y-o-y, to USD 49.3 billion). The latest figures from Statistics Poland show that foreign trade turnover in January-October 2022 in exports at current prices amounted to USD 302.9 billion (marking an increase of 23.3% on the same period one year earlier), while imports stood at USD 319.6 billion (+31% y-o-y). The overall balance was negative by USD 16.7 billion, while in the same period of 2021 it was positive and amounted to USD 2.1 billion. The EU accounted for 75.8% of exports and 51.3% of imports.

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 233,812268,959265,282257,177338,341
Exports of Goods (million USD) 234,364263,569266,595271,059337,908
Imports of Services (million USD) 38,07142,86943,32940,08549,339
Exports of Services (million USD) 58,40167,96469,92767,00280,572

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 101.3103.5102.7100.3112.4
Trade Balance (million USD) -463-7,3271,69914,379-315
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 19,74317,79828,40940,42030,922
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 49.250.749.547.354.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 52.152.753.253.057.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 5.5-

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Poland is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, ICC, Central European Initiative (CEI), WTO, OECD, Schengen Convention, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Poland click here. International organisation membership of Poland is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Poland can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Germany 27.8%
Czech Republic 6.6%
France 5.7%
United Kingdom 4.8%
Netherlands 4.6%
See More Countries 50.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Germany 20.9%
China 13.1%
Italy 4.6%
United States 4.4%
Netherlands 3.7%
See More Countries 53.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Andrzej Duda (since 6th August, 2015)
Prime Minister: Mateusz Morawiecki (since 11th December, 2017)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2025
Senate: October 2023
Sejm: October 2023
Current Political Context
The ruling Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party (PiS) obtained the majority in the Sejm in the last elections but lost it in the Senate. Nevertheless, Morawiecki was confirmed as Prime Minister, and a new coalition agreement reached by PiS has marginally improved the stability of the ruling coalition.
The year 2022 was politically characterized by the Russian-Ukraine conflict. From the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Poland has supported Ukraine militarily, economically and socially, seeking the toughest possible sanctions on Russia and the isolation of the country. Accordingly, the government decided to raise the defence budget to 3% of GDP.
At the same time, tensions with the European Commission continued since billions of euros in funds from the EU Reconstruction Fund were blocked by the Commission, which accused the Polish authorities of restricting the independence of the judiciary. A new election is scheduled for the fall of 2023, with topics such as rising inflation and the war in Ukraine dominating the electoral campaign.
Main Political Parties
Poland is generally governed by a coalition government. The country's main parties/coalitions are:

- Law & Justice (PiS): centre-right, in the Government since November 2015, mildly euro-skeptic and based on a platform of law and order
- Civic Coalition (KO): centre-right, stronger electoral performance in northern and western regions
- Democratic Left Alliance (The Left) (SLD): centre-left, successor of the communist party, recast as a social democratic party
- Polish People' Party (PSL): Christian democratic, centrist, represents farming communities
- Confederation Liberty and Independence: far-right, populist
- Solidarity Poland (SP): right wing
- Agreement: Centre-Right, Conservative Liberalism
- German Minority Electoral Committee: represents the German minority in the lower house of the Polish parliament
- Modern: liberal
- Kukiz'15: right, anti-establishment
- Left Together (LR): left-wing, socialism, democratic
- National Movement (RN): Far-Right, Polish Nationalist
- KORWiN: right-wing
- Polish Initiative (IPL): progressivism, social democracy
- The Greens: green politics, progressivism
- Union Of European Democrats (UED): centre, social liberal

Other minor political parties:

- Congress Of New Right (KNP): Right-wing, libertarian
- Right Wing of The Republic ( PR) :Social-Conservatist
- Real Politics Union (UPR): Right Wing
- Labour United (UP): Centre-Left, social-democratic
- Your Movement (TR): liberal, typically described in media as libertarian or populist, represents minority groups in Polish society

Executive Power
The President is the head of State, elected by universal suffrage for a five year term. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He is appointed by the President, an appointment which must be confirmed by the lower house of Parliament (as a general rule, he is the leader of the majority party or coalition), for a four-year term of office. The Prime Minister holds the executive power, which includes the enforcement of the law and the management of the country's current affairs. The Council of Ministers is proposed by the Prime Minister and approved by the lower house before being appointed by the President.
Legislative Power
The legislative power in Poland is bi-cameral. Parliament is composed of the Senate (upper house, which has 100 seats and whose members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis, for a four-year term of office) and of the Sejm (lower house, which has 460 seats and whose members are elected by a complex system of proportional representation, for a mandate of four years). The President has the right to veto legislation passed by Parliament, but the latter can supplant him by a majority of two thirds of the Sejm.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
The summary of the EU’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the website of the European Council.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) in Poland, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.