HSBC Treasury Management Profiles 2018 -

Current section, Introduction

Introduction

Poland is the largest economy in Central Europe and the eighth-largest in the European Union. GDP grew by more 4.6 per cent in 2017, above the 2.9 per cent expansion seen in 2016. Strong domestic demand (4.7 per cent in 2017, compared to 2.2 per cent in 2016), a rebound in fixed investment, which expanded 5.4 per cent in 2017 (-7.9 per cent in 2016), and robust exports to the EU, its main trading partner, all contributed to the growth. The European Commission has forecast that the pattern of growth will remain strong through 2018 (4.2 per cent) and 2019 (3.6 per cent). Private consumption, the largest contributor to GDP, will provide the strongest contribution to growth, supported by wage growth and high consumer confidence. Private consumption rose 4.8 per cent in 2017, above the 3.9 per cent rise in 2016. In January 2018, the country’s unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent, 18.8 per cent lower than the same period in 2016, and there are concerns that labour shortages, particularly from Ukraine and Belarus, may hold back production in the manufacturing sector and economic growth. The government’s decision to lower the retirement age for men and women in 2017 will also impact on the labour market, with the state pension agency estimating that 2 per cent of the country’s workers could retire early. The influx of workers from the country’s non-EU neighbours has also, according to PKO Bank Polski, delayed Poland’s population ageing by five years; Poland has one of the most rapidly aging populations in Europe according to the World Bank. Policies targeted at making Poland more attractive for workers of both Polish and foreign origin will address these demographic challenges while boosting productivity.

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Legal and regulatory

  • Foreign exchange and domestic currency (PLN) accounts can be held by residents both domestically and abroad. Resident domestic currency accounts are convertible into foreign currency
  • Non-resident bank accounts are permitted in both foreign and domestic currency. Non-resident domestic currency accounts can be held abroad and are convertible into foreign currency
  • Account opening procedures require formal identification of the accountholder and beneficial owners
  • All residents’ assets and liabilities with non-residents meeting respective thresholds are required to be reported to the NBP for balance of payments purposes on a monthly or quarterly basis

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Taxation

  • Resident companies are subject to taxation on their worldwide income
  • Non-resident companies are taxed on Polish-sourced income only
  • The standard rate of corporation tax is 19 per cent
  • Interest and dividends paid to a non-resident are subject to a 20 per cent and 19 per cent withholding tax respectively, unless the rate is reduced under a tax treaty
  • Poland is a signatory to the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA), under which information will be exchanged between tax administrations. Country-by-country reporting obligations apply for tax periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016. The first exchanges under the MCAA will begin in 2017-18, based on 2016 information

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Payment instruments and systems

  • Credit transfers are used for both high-value and low-value payment transactions. Payment card use, particularly of debit cards, is rising. Of the approximately 38.5 million cards in circulation, over 80 per cent are contactless. Mobile wallet schemes are available; mobile payments service Blik enables customers to make payments in stores and online, withdraw cash from ATMs and send P2P transfers with their mobile phones
  • Poland operates three national payment systems: SORBNET, an RTGS system for PLN transfers; TARGET2-NBP, an RTGS system for EUR transfers; and ELIXIR (with the Euro Elixir and Express Elixir), for low-value PLN- and EUR-denominated retail payments

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Cash management

  • Notional pooling and cash concentration are permitted between resident and non-resident accounts. Notional pooling between different legal entities is subject to arm’s-length transfer pricing and thin capitalisation rules
  • Automated collection methods are used by the majority of medium-sized and large businesses in Poland, although practices between companies and sectors can differ

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Electronic banking

  • There is no bank-independent electronic banking standard in Poland
  • Internet and mobile banking services are provided by all of Poland’s banks for both corporate and retail purposes. Online and mobile banking services were used by 53 per cent and 43 per cent of individuals respectively in 2016
  • Services like Paybynet, PayU or DotPay enable secure online payments and/or purchases via credit transfer

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To read the full report on Poland and to discover more on these and other topics, including banking and trade, please click on the Download PDF option.

Sources:

  • World Bank
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Central Statistical Office of Poland
  • National Bank of Poland

The materials contained on this page were assembled in June 2017 (unless otherwise dated).

 

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