Air traffic in Poland back on track

Photo by Kevin Woblick on Unsplash
Photo by Kevin Woblick on Unsplash
According to IATA, air traffic in Poland will increase dramatically in the years ahead, justifying construction of the air & rail Solidarity Transport Hub (CPK in Polish) west of Warsaw, which is currently at the pre-construction phase.

Air traffic in Poland on track to pre-pandemic level by end of 2024

Air traffic in Poland is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, according to a forecast prepared by global airline industry body IATA for the Solidarity Transport Hub (Centralny Port Komunikacyjny, CPK), the air & rail transfer hub scheme to be located about 45 km west of central Warsaw. The project is in its pre-construction phase.

In 2019, Warsaw’s Chopin Airport handled 18.8 million passengers, according to the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (ULC). 49 million air passengers passed through all Polish airports that year.

“Completing the CPK is an investment priority for the Polish government,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe. “The CPK will be a catalyst for other infrastructure projects, as well as a positive impulse for the economy, labour market and GDP.”

According to the forecast’s baseline scenario, the CPK should handle around 30 million passengers in its first year of operation, planned for 2027, rising to approximately 40 million by 2035, 50 million by 2044 and 65 million by 2060.

Concerning cargo, for the CPK, the forecast (baseline scenario) projects 0.5 million tonnes in 2030, one million tonnes in 2035 and as much as 1.75 million tonnes at the end of the forecast period, by 2060. In 2019, Chopin Airport handled 97,784 tonnes of cargo. “The CPK has a chance to join the largest cargo hubs in Europe,” closed the forecast. “For example, the airport in Frankfurt currently handles 2.1 million tonnes of cargo per year, Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris – 2.1 million, and London Heathrow – 1.7 million.”

Finance Minister leaves over the Polish Deal turmoil

Poland’s finance minister Tadeusz Kościński resigned on Monday 7 February, a move that attracted less international attention than would be expected for the resignation of a finance minister of a major European nation. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will now take over the duties of the Minister of Finance until a new person is appointed, said Anita Czerwińska, spokesperson for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Kościński was the sixth finance minister in the PiS government since 2015. “At the end of the day, I am the captain, I take responsibility,” Koscinski, a former banker who took over as finance minister in 2019, told the Financial Times.

The backdrop to the resignation was the troubled introduction of the so-called Polish Deal (Polski Ład), which took effect at the beginning of this year and included a series of spending pledges and tax changes. The rollout of the package in January caused confusion, with some low earners, who were supposed to benefit from the changes, receiving less income than expected. Critics say the new rules were so complex that they remained unclear to tax experts.

According to the FT, “the decision over who replaces Kościński, a close ally of Morawiecki, will be read as a barometer of the delicate balance of power in the ruling camp, which has become increasingly fractious over the past 18 months. Among those mentioned as possible successors, Artur Sobon, who was appointed deputy finance minister last month, is seen as the closest to Morawiecki. Two others mentioned as possibilities — Piotr Nowak and Henryk Kowalczyk — are regarded as closer to other factions within the government.” The FT continued: “As well as remedying the problems with the Polish Deal, one of the biggest challenges will be dealing with surging inflation, which hit 8.6% in December — its highest level for more than two decades.”

Interest rate up by 50 basis points to 2.75%

Poland’s Monetary Policy Council (Rada Polityki Pieniężnej – RPP) has raised the reference interest rate by 50 basis points to 2.75%, to the level previously seen in June 2013. This is the fifth increase of interest rates in a row, according to Money.pl. The decision was in line with market expectations, although some analysts expected a 75 basis points move.

The economic recovery in Poland continues and the situation on the labour market is improving, the central bank (NBP) said in a statement after the Council’s decision. The Council expects the favourable economic situation to remain in the coming quarters, while highlighting uncertainties caused by supply chain issues and high energy prices. At the same time, the central bank warned that inflation may stay above the 2.5% target for a long time.

According to Bankier.pl, the market expects that the council will keep raising interest rates and may reach the level of about 4.5% this year.

Close to 50 IPOs on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 2021

48 companies debuted on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 2021. On the main market there were 16 initial public offerings (IPO), while on NewConnect, the alternative stock exchange allowing smaller companies to float shares, 32 companies started trading. The total value of debuts was about PLN 9.5 billion. The largest debut – Pepco (3.7 billion) – was among the top ten IPOs in Europe in the second quarter of 2021.

So far in 2022, five companies have debuted on the WSE, including one on the main market – BioMaxima S.A. a Polish manufacturer of microbiological media, reagents and equipment for in vitro diagnostics, including SARS-CoV-2 tests. The company transferred its listing from NewConnect to the main trading floor at the end of January – the first debut on the WSE’s main market in 2022. The next company to debut on the main exchange, and another moving from NewConnect, is likely to be digital solutions company Spyrosoft, whose shares are currently over 20 times more expensive than when the company entered NewConnect in spring 2020, when the reference price was PLN 10. According to an estimate by financial media title Parkiet, a total of 75 companies moved from NewConnect to the main market in 2008–2021.

In total, the Warsaw Stock Exchange has more than 800 listed companies.

Investment volume in commercial real estate may jump 20% in 2022

The value of investments in commercial real estate in Poland may reach as much as EUR 6.5-7 billion in 2022, an increase of over 20% y-y to a level seen before the pandemic, international commercial real estate services company CBRE has estimated.

In 2021, the total value of investments was EUR 5.71 billion, with more than half of the total amount (52%) taken by the warehouse market, followed by offices. Total transactions amounted to 164, which was a record number. Office investment transactions accounted for 29% of the share, down from 38% the previous year.

Prime warehouse yield in 2021 compressed to 4.35%, lower than the 2019 pre-COVID rate of 5.75%. Prime yields for office and retail properties were 4.5% and 5.75% respectively, still higher than in the pre-pandemic period. For the hotel sector, the yield remained stable at 6% and in the residential sector it compressed to 4.7%.

Europe remained the main source of capital on the Polish investment market in 2021, accounting for 47% of the total volume; however, the share of Polish investors was only 4%. As many as 23% came from North America, 11% from Asia, and 4% from South Africa.

mBank reports net loss of PLN 1.6 bln in Q4

mBank reported PLN 1.63 billion of consolidated net loss attributable to shareholders in the fourth quarter 2021 compared to PLN 174.68 million loss a year earlier, according to Inwestycje(dot)pl. The net result was in line with market expectations. Net interest income amounted to PLN 1.19 billion versus PLN 976.93 million a year earlier.

The results were influenced by provisions related to foreign currency mortgage loans. The legal risk costs associated with these loans, recognized in the fourth quarter, amounted to PLN 2 billion.

TikTok aims to keep growth pace in Poland in 2022

Video sharing platform TikTok counts on maintaining last year’s growth this year in Poland and the CEE region, Sylwia Chada, the head of the platform in the region, told ISBtech. The key areas of growth are e-commerce, e-sport and digital entertainment.

“Last year, we recorded a five-fold dynamic of revenue growth in Central Europe… We are heading towards maintaining a similar dynamic this year,” Chada said, adding that Poland is the company’s largest market in the CEE region. In 2021 TikTok reached one billion active users globally.

Immigrants to make up 1% of people of working age in Poland by 2030

Legal immigrants will constitute about 1% of people of working age in Poland by 2030, according to research by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP). It warned that a low number of immigrants together with an ageing population is likely to stymie economic growth.

According to forecasts prepared by the European Statistical Office ‘Eurostat’, by 2050, the population of Poland will decrease by nearly 10%, totalling approximately 34.7 million. In 2050, the number of people over 65 for every 100 people aged 15-64 – the so-called demographic burden ratio – will amount to 53, while in 2012 it was 20, according to the research. “As of 31 December 2020, the number of foreigners from EU countries amounted to 38,700 (this number includes British citizens), while from non-EU countries (it was) 686,400, including 532,500 individuals with Ukrainian citizenship.”

Foreigners would be more willing to work in Poland if the employment process and recognition of diplomas are simplified, the authors of the research claimed. The working population in Poland in 2020, according to World Bank data, was 18.2 million.

European Commission raises 2022 GDP forecast for Poland 

The European Commission has raised its GDP growth forecast for Poland for 2022 to 5.5%, from 5.2% expected previously, as reported in Gazeta Prawna. “The Polish economy positively surprised in the second half of 2021, confirming its resilience despite the recurring waves of Covid-19 and disruptions in the supply chains,” the Commission said. At the same time, the GDP forecast for 2023 was lowered to 4.2% from 4.4% earlier.

The Commission forecasts that inflation in Poland in 2022 will amount to 6.8%, and in 2023 it will drop to 3.8%. Earlier forecasts were 5.2% and 2.6% respectively. “Although the new package introduced by the government (ed. Polish Deal, or Polsk Ład) will reduce taxes paid on energy and food products in the first half of the year, inflation is forecast to accelerate in the first quarter of 2022 due to an increase in regulated energy prices,” it said.

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Written by: Richard Stephens