Poland's economy expanded an annual 6.7 percent in the second quarter, faster than expected, suggesting interest rates may be raised a fourth time this year. Growth in gross domestic product compared with 7.4 percent in the first quarter, the Central Statistical Office reported in Warsaw, and exceeded the 6.1 percent median forecast of 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The economy grew 6 percent in the second quarter of 2006.
In fact the rate of GDP growth in Q2 - which according to my calculations was 0.34% - seems to have slowed from Q1, when it was a fierce 1.6%. This slowdown can be seen in the following chart.
Domestic demand increased year on year by 9.3% in the second quarter, up from 8.6% in the first quarter, and from 5.4 percent in the same period last year. Consumer demand increased 5.1 percent, up from 4.8 percent a year ago, while production grew 6.3 percent, slower than the 9.2 percent growth rate achieved in the second quarter of last year.
The prime contributors to second quarter growth seem to have been fixed investments and a large increase in inventories, which combined boosted annual growth in gross capital formation to 34.2% in the second quarter, up from 26.8% in the first quarter.
Construction, of course, increased considerably - by 17.7 percent - up from 12.1 percent in Q2 2006, but down from the first quarter's 40.1% rate, an output level which had been aided by unusually warm winter weather.Investments rose 22.3 in the second quarter, up from 14.5 percent last year and down from 29.6 percent in the first quarter.
Basically it is very hard to determine anything very clearly at this stage from the provisional data we have. A lot depends on what is happening with the inventories, and where construction is going. As we can see from the following chart, the annual increase in Q2 has slowed somewhat, but this doesn't really mean that the economy is slowing to any significant extent, we need to see more data going forward to decide on this.
What the data does seem to show is that fixed investment has replaced private consumption as the main contributor to growth, and this seems strange. Fixed investment contributed a net 3.8 percentage points to second quarter GDP growth, up from 3.6 percentage points in the first quarter. Private consumption contributed 3.2 percentage points, down from 4.6 in the first quarter.
A negative contribution was made by foreign trade, at -2.6 percentage points, a deeper dent than the -1.1 percentage points registered in the first quarter. Exports increased 7.8% on the year in the second quarter, while imports grew 14.2%. So obviously there are big trade balance issues to think about.
Industrial output growth slowed to 6.3% on the year in the second quarter, from 9.1% in the previous three months. While the services sector expanded 6.0% on the year, down from a 7.4% increase in the first quarter.