Poland not only exports food and cars. The list of the greatest Polish export hits from 2015 may seem surprising. A commentary regarding the statistics of trade exchange between Poland and other countries, by Piotr Lonczak, Cinkciarz.pl analyst.
Polish exporters can consider 2015 as a very successful year. According to the data provided by the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), in 2015 the value of Polish exports increased by 7.8%. This success has been achieved, despite the unfavorable atmosphere of the worldwide economy, which has had to deal with a slowdown of the emerging markets and a breakdown of raw materials prices. Moreover, Poland's most important trading partner, the euro zone (56.4% of total export in 2015), continues to quote a low GDP pace of growth. Nevertheless, these obstacles did not manage to discourage Polish companies from expanding into new markets.
Not only food
In the past, the success of Polish export was associated with food trade. As far as the sale of food, it had increased dynamically shortly after Poland joined the European Union, however, it is currently growing at a much slower pace than the rest of export. As a result, in 2015, the contribution of groceries as export decreased to 10.7%, in comparison with 11% and 10.9% in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The contribution of food in export was relatively small. However, at the same time we are dealing with an increasing significance of the sale of products from transport machines to devices. In 2015, this category's contribution to export was 38.6% against 37.6% and 37.8% in years 2013 and 2014, respectively. For perspective, it is worth noting that this category's contribution to export was clearly above 40% over five years ago.
Thus, we are observing a change in the structure of Polish export; from low processed products to more advanced products. If this tendency continues for the long term, it may lead to an increase in work effectiveness, followed by higher salaries.
In 2015, the value of the export of guns and ammunition was approximately 110 million euro, against 54 million euro in 2014. This is a 102% growth. Over the past five years, this category's export was 313% higher. The value of this market, in relation to the entire export, is not very significant (0.6%). However, it confirms the improvement in the effectiveness of entering new markets. The most prominent recipient of the above mentioned products was Iraq.
Tractors are another good example of this. The export of these machines increased 100% (from approximately 60 million euro in 2014, to nearly 120 million euro in 2015). The export was approximately 200% higher than the result from 2011. The biggest recipient of Polish tractors was Belgium, with the runner-up being Ethiopia. The machines were also sold to other countries such as Iran, Kazakhstan and Jordan.
Another little known category of export consists of strollers, toys and games. In 2015, the export of these products increased to 1.2 billion euro (approximately 50%). During the past five years, export of these products increased more than 200%. The biggest recipient was the Czech Republic. This country had purchased a value of approximately 80 million euro of products in this category. The leaders consisted mostly of European countries like France, Belgium and Holland. What is interesting, is the high position of Belarus.
Other products that quoted more than a 100% growth, were musical instruments, clocks and watches, as well as traveling accessories and purses. The significance of these categories is relatively small, and the biggest export position (transport machines and devices) increased 10.1%, and food increased 6.6%. This gives a good picture of which sectors are relatively mature, and which of them are experiencing new dynamic development.
Release of potential
The structure of export reflects the state of the Polish economy. It is clear that the source of its success during the past few years was in small and medium-sized companies. They were capable of responding effectively to the needs of the customers, even those from distant Africa or Asia. Even though the production of food still has a certain potential, it hasn’t been the main power of increase in export for some time now. Moreover, it will not give Poland the position of Germany when it comes to export.