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Eastern Europe

The export tariffs implemented by Russia in October have slowed down already very weak shipments abroad. Coupled with a low rouble/US dollar exchange rate, this makes it very difficult for manufacturers to keep their businesses profitable whereas November and December are normally extremely busy months ahead of the combination of long New Year/Christmas holidays and maintenance closures.

Since early November, there has been a massive ongoing strike by Polish truck drivers on the border with Ukraine. Their protests are against drivers from Ukraine filling the employment opportunities in Poland for lower wages. By blocking truck movements, they have made border crossings take almost a week now.

The increased number of bankruptcies in Poland reported in the previous Mirror has continued into the fourth quarter. Following parliament elections on October 15 and a series of rate cuts, the Polish zloty has been performing very strongly of late, making exports somewhat more difficult.

The European Commission is forecasting 2.7% GDP growth for Poland in 2024, supported by “a rebound in private consumption, continued expansion of investment, and well-performing exports”. Growth forecasts for neighbouring countries are cautiously promising at 1.4% for the Czech Republic, 1.7% for Slovakia and 2.4% for Hungary.