FOR Communication 31/2018: Misunderstandings about the upgrade of Poland’s rating by Standard & Poor's
The upgraded rating of Poland by Standard & Poor's led to many different interpretations, some of them erroneous or exaggerated. Many observers perceived it as an improvement in the assessment of Poland's long-term economic prospects, while in fact it is only a reversal of the cut from January 2016, the beginning of the Law and Justice government. Poland’s rating was already on the current level earlier, in 2007-2015, even though these were the years of the global financial crisis and the solvency crisis in the euro area.
The restoration of the previous rating is the result of, among others:
- Positive structural changes in the private sector, continued independently of the PiS’ economic policy. The development of the enterprise sector, with the simultaneous outflow of workers from agriculture, increases the productivity of the Polish economy. At the same time, in 2017, Poland recorded a surplus on the current account, the first since 1995 - which S&P attributes to the surplus of the growing services sector.
- The withdrawal of Pies from some dangerous or expensive election promises (conversion of loans in Swiss franc, raising the tax-free amount) and spreading the implementation of the remaining ones over time. As a result, the annual cost of implementing the election promises in 2017 amounted to approx. PLN 27 billion instead of the estimated PLN 60 billion. At the same time, in good economic times, delaying the implementation of some of the election promises allowed to increase revenues and reduce other expenditures. It is worth remembering, however, that the cost of lowering the retirement age will increase over time, therefore in 2018 the costs of PiS’ promises will reach ca. PLN 35 billion.
- A significant influx of foreigners to Poland, which supports economic growth by making up for workforce shortages. Despite anti-immigration rhetoric from the election campaign, the government has not blocked their inflow.
dr Aleksander Łaszek, FOR Chief Economist
Rafał Trzeciakowski, economist
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