Polish 2013 growth to slow to 1.3%: central bank

The Polish central bank NBP said Monday that growth in central Europe's largest economy would likely slow to 1.3 percent this year, well below the government's 2.2-percent forecast.

"The slowdown results primarily from unfavourable external conditions for the Polish economy," an NBP statement said.

"Since the fourth quarter of 2011, the eurozone has found itself in recession mode, exacerbated by debt woes and the loss of a competitive edge by some eurozone countries," the bank added in comments posted on its website.

In the longer term however, as the global situation improved and Poland received EU funds for the period from 2014-2020, gross domestic product (GDP) would pick up again to a forecast 2.6 percent in 2014 and 3.1 percent in 2015, the statement said.

Having grown ever since a communist regime collapsed more than two decades ago, thanks in part to its solid internal market of 38.2 million consumers, the Polish economy expanded last year by 2.0 percent.

The central bank did not factor in the possible effect of its decision last week to cut its key interest rate by a half-point to 3.25 percent on the growth estimate.

Inflation which stood at 3.7 percent in 2012, was expected to decline to 1.6 percent in 2013 and 2014 before dropping to 1.5 percent in 2015, the NBP said.

The global ratings agency Fitch has raised its outlook for Poland to "positive" from "stable" while maintaining its sovereign debt rating at the investment grade of "A-".

sw-mas/wai