Polish current account data sparks worry over exports

By bne IntelliNews July 14, 2016

Poland’s current account recorded a surplus of nearly PLN2.2bn (€495mn) in May, falling slightly from an excess of PLN2.4bn the previous month, the National Bank of Poland (NBP) reported on July 14.

The surplus trumps analyst expectations of PLN1.95bn, having been driven by a huge improvement in the primary income account, on which the deficit sank to PLN2.5bn against April’s shortage of PLN4.9bn. However, at the same time, trade data proved somewhat alarming.

In local currency terms, the goods account surplus dropped to PLN558mn, verses an excess of PLN2.3bn in April, as exports grew 3.5% y/y and imports 6.3% y/y. However, other data points suggesting deteriorating trade dynamics raise concern.

Exports decreased 9.7% m/m on a monthly basis; imports fell 7.4% m/m, the NBP data showed. Even more worrying was a drop of 4.2% y/y of exports in euro terms.
BZ WBK notes the latter was a disappointment and may signal the effects of fading momentum in the global economy. "The data seem to confirm our worries that GDP growth may fail to accelerate in Q2 and in the following quarters," the analysts write. "We have recently trimmed our GDP growth forecast by 0.3-0.4pp to 3.1% in 2016 and 2.9% in 2017."

Analysts at Bank Millennium claim it's too early to talk about a negative trend in exports, however they add that they do expect the current account to recede into deficit in the coming months due to increased domestic demand, although that will not pose danger to economy.

Other accounts showed mixed performance. The surplus on the services account grew slightly to PLN4.54bn in May, while the secondary income swung into a deficit of PLN374mn.

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