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Friday, June 29, 2007

Polish Migrants and the Scottish Birth Rate

From the Scotsman:

Polish immigrants swell Scotland's new baby boom

IMMIGRANTS from eastern Europe have helped trigger a baby boom in Scotland this year, new official figures have revealed.

There were 646 more babies born in the first quarter of 2007. Of that number, one in five were born to mothers from Eastern Europe.

It is the first time the General Register Office for Scotland has broken down its statistics to uncover the extent of the impact on Scotland's population of mass immigration from Eastern Europe.

A spokesman said: "Births in Scotland went up by 646 as a whole compared with the first quarter of 2006.

"One in five of those babies were born to parents from the EU accession states.

"Of that number, the majority of babies were born to Polish parents, followed by parents from Latvia."

In the past four years, about 600,000 eastern European immigrants have arrived in the UK from the eight nations that have recently joined the EU, including Poland, which joined in 2004, and Romania and Bulgaria, which joined this year.

The Executive believes there are about 40,000 Poles living in Scotland, while the Polish Council believes there are about 50,000. The true figure could be as high as 100,000.

The figures released yesterday showed that while the birth rate in Scotland has continued to grow this year, it was outweighed by the number of deaths.

The first three months of 2007 saw 14,214 babies born, an increase of 4.8 per cent on the same period the previous year.

It continues a five-year trend and is the highest number during the first quarter of the year since 1997.

However, deaths increased by 6.3 per cent from 14,876 to 15,818, the highest total since the same period in 2000.

While the number of deaths from cancer fell by 0.6 per cent, deaths from coronary heart disease increased by 2.4 per cent and deaths from stroke by 1.9 per cent.

The figures give Scotland an estimated population of 5,116,900.

The Registrar General for Scotland, Duncan Macniven, said: "The increase in the number of deaths was disappointing, though it was partly a reflection of the unprecedentedly small number of deaths in the first quarter of 2006.

"The increase was relatively small and it is too early to suggest a change in the trend of a falling death rate."

The figures also showed that the number of marriages dropped, by 4.6 per cent from 3,493 to 3,333, and - as had been expected - the number of same-sex civil partnerships also fell.

Robert Whelan, of the Civitas think tank, said: "We have to bear in mind with immigration that we are not just looking at the numbers of adults coming into the country, but at large numbers of children being born.

"It will make a growing difference to the balance of the population because birth rates among the existing population are low. Immigrant groups have higher birth rates than the existing population."

• THE most popular names for Polish children are quite different from Jack and Sophie - the names most often chosen by parents of Scottish children.

The most popular name for a Polish baby boy is Jan, with Anna being the favourite name for a girl.

Following Jan, the names most commonly picked by Polish parents for boys are: Andrzej, Piotr, Krzysztof, Stanislaw, Tomasz, Pawel, Józef, Marcin and Marek.

For girls, the next most popular after Anna are: Maria, Katarzyna, Malgorzata, Agnieszka, Krystyna, Barbara, Ewa, Elzbieta and Zofia.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Polish Wages Rising

From Bloomberg today:

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Poland's unemployment rate fell in May to 13 percent, close to an eight-year low, as economic growth picked up, the Central Statistics Office said in Warsaw.

The number of unemployed totaled 1.985 million, down 5.6 percent from April and 23.1 percent from May last year, when the rate was 16.5 percent.

Polish companies are boosting hiring after the economy expanded 7.4 percent in the first quarter, the fastest rate in a decade. Gross domestic product is expected to grow 6.5 percent this year, compared with 6.1 percent last year.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Polish Unemployment Declining

This in Bloomberg today:

Polish Unemployment Rate Fell to 12.4% in June, Near 8-Year Low

Poland's unemployment rate fell in June to 12.4 percent from 13 percent in May, according to preliminary estimates from the Labor Ministry.

The number of unemployed totaled 1.896 million, a near eight-year low, the Warsaw-based ministry said today in an e- mail. The rate remained the highest in the European Union, according to national statistics figures.

The fastest growth in a decade, driven by domestic demand and investments, forced companies to boost hiring, while an increasing number of Poles sought work abroad, resulting in staff shortages in construction and the health-care industry.

The European Commission said on May 7 that unemployment may fall to 11 percent by the end of the year, while Deputy Labor Minister Halina Olendzka said yesterday the year-end rate might be below 10 percent if the jobless rate continues declining at the current pace.

A final report on June unemployment will be published by the statistics office in the last 10 days of this month.

Also this:

From Bloomberg today:

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Poland's unemployment rate fell in May to 13 percent, close to an eight-year low, as economic growth picked up, the Central Statistics Office said in Warsaw.

The number of unemployed totaled 1.985 million, down 5.6 percent from April and 23.1 percent from May last year, when the rate was 16.5 percent.

Polish companies are boosting hiring after the economy expanded 7.4 percent in the first quarter, the fastest rate in a decade. Gross domestic product is expected to grow 6.5 percent this year, compared with 6.1 percent last year.

UK Polish Migrant Remittances

This is London have this:

Polish immigrants take £1bn out of the UK economy

Polish immigrants sent home almost £1billion in the first three months of this year, it has been revealed

The cash taken out of the UK economy would otherwise have been spent in shops, restaurants and other businesses here.

The figures, compiled by the National Bank of Poland, showed that £1.1 billion was sent back from Western Europe to family members living in the former Eastern Bloc country since January.

More than three-quarters of the total is thought to be from Britain, where the majority of Polish migrants moved following the expansion of the EU in


This means that the total siphoned out of the UK economy is somewhere between £825 million and £1 billion - a rise of around a quarter on the same period last year .

It is the equivalent of up to £2,500 sent home by each one of the 400,000 Poles living in Britain.

Although the sum is too small to dent the health of the British economy, MPs warned that it could begin to have an impact if the trend continues.

Businesses will be forced to tighten their belts if cash paid out in wages is being sent out of the country, rather than spent here.

Tory MP James Clappison said: "This is yet another consequence of Eastern European migration which the Government failed to predict.

"It has to raise question marks over whether there will be an employment effect here. The Government has not done proper research on that."

The Polish bank said the amount of money being sent back to its economy from Western Europe was a 26 per cent increase on the corresponding quarter of 2006.

The figures were revealed as a Polish newspaper this week published a guide to working in the EU, advising potential migrants to head to Britain.

The daily Dziennik said there are more opportunities here than in countries such as Spain or Italy, where only backbreaking fruit picking at paltry wages is available.

It also pointed out that other EU countries imposed restrictions on new immigrants, in many cases until 2009.

Britain's "open door" policy has seen the number of arrivals from the eight countries, which joined in May 2004, reach 630,000.

Earlier this week, Poles were blamed for a shortage of £50 notes in Britain. It is claimed they are sending notes home, leaving the Bank of England with insufficient numbers in circulation.

Polish Migrants in the UK May Want to stay

From this is London:

We're never going home... 300,000 Polish migrants plan to stay permanently in UK

The majority of Polish migrants arriving in Britain plan to stay permanently, research has revealed.

The finding undermines official suggestions that many Eastern Europeans in the UK are short-term visitors with no intention of remaining.

A study found more than half those arriving to work want to stay for at least four years - and many plan to remain indefinitely.

The long-term nature of Eastern European immigration was underlined by the finding that four out of ten recent arrivals have brought family members over with them.

The survey, carried out at British ports and stations by a Warsaw-based market research firm, indicated that more than 300,000 Poles could stay permanently.

This contrasts sharply with the figure of 13,000 migrants predicted by the Home Office when Poland and seven other countries joined the European Union in April 2004.

Whitehall and local authorities have been unprepared for the scale of the migration - and its impact on public services such as schools and the Health Service.

Rising migrant numbers are also piling the pressure on social housing - where the allocation of subsidised homes to recent arrivals has provoked tension among existing residents - and on the commercial housing market.

ARC Market and Opinion, which surveyed 1,389 Poles at bus stations and airports, found that only 45 per cent planned to go home within four years.

Of that figure, 45 per cent said they planned to stay at least five years in Britain before returning, and 10 per cent said they would settle in Britain for good.

But Piotr Juszczyk, the analyst who ran the study, said those who stay for five years are unlikely ever to go home. "Immigrants who have established themselves are less inclined to leave and the longer they stay, the less likely is that they will ever return," he said.

"Five years is the usual limit.

"There is a very populous and tight-knit Polish community in Britain now, as it is natural for immigrants to stick together.

"According to our data, over 40 per cent of the Poles who recently moved to Britain for work have already brought one or more members of their families to live with them in their new homes."

The study found that the average Pole in Britain earns £1,500 a month after tax and deductions - several times the pay for similar work in Polish cities.

Mr Juszczyk said: "There is no way to establish the exact number of migrants, but it is clear the trend is still going strong.

"Poles working in Britain earn much more than they would in Poland, where in some parts it is difficult to get well-paid jobs."

Polish ministers have begun to complain of shortages of labour. Around 1.5million workers are thought to have left Poland since it joined the EU, and 600,000 are believed to be in Britain.

Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch pressure group, said: "This looks like strong evidence that at least half the huge number of Polish immigrants who have arrived in the last couple of years intend to stay for five years or more. It also suggests that they are bringing dependants with them.

"All this has to be factored in to the supply of schools, hospitals and housing."

Robert Whelan, of the Civitas think-tank, added: "This report records only what people say at the port of entry.

"Once they have been here for a year or two and got used to the standard of living, which is much higher than in Poland, many of those who say they will go are likely to stay."

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Poland is part of the European Union and as such Poles have freedom of movement across the member states.

"There are legitimate concerns about managing the effects of migration and we are listening to those concerns.

"That is why we have established limits and quotas on immigration from the two newest EU countries, Romania and Bulgaria."

Polands Stock Boom

In Bloomberg Today:

Poles Snap Up IPO `Promises,' Evoking Memories of Internet Bust

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- Piotr Skowron started his company six weeks ago and already has one eye on the stock market.

``We have contracts in Poland and abroad, and we want to sell shares,'' says Skowron, 45, whose biotechnology company specializes in cloning genes. ``We want to get more capital and be recognizable across the world.''

Poland today resembles Silicon Valley during the Internet- driven boom a decade ago as companies with little or no revenue stage initial public offerings, brokers court executives with seminars on how to sell shares and locals pour cash into the stock market. The Warsaw Stock Exchange expects to attract at least 70 IPOs this year, beating the record of 62 set in 1997.

The good times may be coming to an end as stocks become expensive and too many companies sell shares, some economists and fund managers say. The first IPO to fail will spook investors and drag down the whole market, says Stanislaw Gomulka, economic adviser to the government and central bank in the late 1990s, when Poland's benchmark index doubled in value.

``People will start selling in panic, mainly the companies that sell promises, the small and medium caps whose valuations now raise concerns,'' Gomulka says. ``It usually takes a few years before they bring their money back to the market.''

The mWIG40 Index, whose members have a median market value of $810 million, has doubled in the past 12 months. Index members trade for an average of 35 times estimated annual earnings, more than twice those in the WIG20 Index of the biggest companies.

`Nice Adventure'

The boom has made Warsaw the stock market hub of former communist Europe. More than 100 companies listed their shares in Poland during the past three years. With the 2007 crop, the number of new companies traded in Warsaw will almost equal those in Prague, Budapest and Vienna combined.

Companies from outside Poland, such as Hungarian oil producer Mol Nyrt. and Czech power supplier CEZ AS, have sought listings to attract new investors.

Poles have more than 130 billion zloty ($47 billion) in stock, bond and property funds after a 63 percent increase in 2006, according to the Warsaw-based Chamber of Fund and Asset Managers. That's more than twice the growth in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

``It's a nice adventure to earn money this way,'' says Jozef Mianowski, 50, lining up to buy shares in property developer LC Corp SA at a Warsaw branch of broker IDM SA. ``I'm sure stock prices will keep going up because of the economic growth.''

Poland's gross domestic product, currently about $330 billion, is growing at an annual rate of more than 6 percent.

Locals like Mianowski bid for 11.3 billion zloty of shares offered by LC Corp, or 53 times more than was available, the company said June 22.

``We have 50- and 60-year-old ladies coming, saying they want to buy shares,'' says Tomasz Bilski, head of sales at Bank BPH SA's brokerage in Warsaw. ``They want a 30 to 40 percent return instead of 4 to 5 percent.''

Stop, Think

Sebastian Buczek, who oversees the equivalent of $6.4 billion at ING Investment Management Polska SA in Warsaw, expects gains in Polish stocks to slow for the rest of 2007. The broader WIG Index, which includes 277 stocks traded in Poland, advanced 31 percent in the first half.

Polish funds are still taking in money from clients and putting it into the stock market, Buczek says. His funds must keep 80 percent of its equity assets in Polish shares.

``Many investors have become too optimistic,'' Buczek says. ``People started to believe that investing in shares is an easy way of making money. They should stop and realize investing is very risky.''

Gomulka, who was chief economist of PZU SA, Poland's largest insurer, before retiring in January, is more pessimistic.

``Share prices in Poland at the moment are high, very high,'' Gomulka says. ``A correction of about 20 or 30 percent is inevitable if people are so fascinated with stocks.''


Shares of BBI Development NFI SA, an investment fund-turned- property developer, have almost tripled during the past year, even though the Warsaw-based company won't complete its first major projects until at least 2010.

``Construction companies are trendy now and sell shares to the public having only a chunk of land and some ideas,'' says Mikolaj Centka, a member of the management board at Ventus Asset Management in Warsaw. ``When the Internet bubble burst, only solid companies survived. Here the case will be the same.''

Skowron, the biochemist whose GenPandora Sp. z o.o. in the northern city of Gdansk sells cloned genes for use in experiments, downplays the risk of a slump.

``I am optimistic about it,'' he says while attending a seminar for executives planning to take their companies public. And if his share sale fails? ``I will create another company.''