Pandemic ends 30-year growth streak for Polish economy


A man delivers a supply of heating gas to Warsaw’s popular Piw Paw pub in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, a business that is struggling to survive under lockdown by organizing legal, small-scale educative meetings and courses for beer lovers. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s economy shrank 2.8% during 2020 due to the pandemic, ending three decades of constant growth, according to preliminary figures released by the national statistical office.

The report released Friday by Statistics Poland showed that the usual driving forces of the economy faltered. Private sector spending shrank by 3% and investment contracted by 8.4%.

It was the first contraction in Poland’s GDP since a 7% drop in 1991, when the economy was going through a painful transformation from being centrally-run to a market-driven system.

The contraction in 2020 comes after growth of 4.5% in 2019. Economists are expecting an economic rebound in the second quarter this year.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the data was nevertheless better than expected, considering how much smaller business activity and consumer spending were constrained by repeated anti-COVID-19 lockdowns. The government had offered financial support and exemptions from dues to hardest-hit businesses.

“We are going through the recession easier that had been predicted.” Morawiecki said.

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