Polish economy picked up speed in 4Q of 2011

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's economic growth accelerated in the last quarter of 2011, bucking a trend in the region, government statistics showed Thursday.

The gross domestic product — the broadest measure of a country's economy — grew 4.3 percent compared to the same three-month period of the previous year, according to the data.

That marks accelerated growth over the third quarter, when GDP grew 4.2 percent.

The economy got a boost from increased investments and a weaker zloty, the Polish currency, which helped exporters by making their goods cheaper abroad.

In recent weeks, however, the zloty has strengthened. And GDP growth this year is expected to slow to about 2.5 percent — according to official Polish forecasts — due to the slowdown elsewhere in Europe.

Capital Economics in London called the data good news that "confirmed that the economy survived the slump in euro-zone demand at the end of last year relatively unscathed — unlike the rest of Central Europe."

It said it expects Poland to continue outperforming the region, but still predicts a difficult year ahead for the country of 38 million people.

Capital Economics noted that private consumption appears to be slowing and that demand for Polish exports will likely fall. It is less optimistic than the Polish government and predicts growth of 1.5 percent in Poland this year, rising to 2.3 percent in 2013.

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