Warsaw Stock Exchange
Situated in Warsaw, Poland, the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) began operating in its present form in 1991. Also known as the Gielda Papierów Wartosciowych w Warszawie SA (GPW) in Polish, the WSE is the largest stock exchange in both Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Stock Exchange is essentially a joint-stock company which was created by the State Treasury and has 38 different shareholders. These shareholders are a mixture of brokerage houses, banks, the State Treasury and even a listed company. The main trade organisations operating in Warsaw are the EU, the TWO and the OECD. There are currenly 274 companies which are listed on the WSE. Some examples of these companies are Netia, the TP Group, Grupa LOTOS, KGHM Polska Miedz SA and Bank Pekao SA.
Since the early 1990s, Poland has been working hard to improve the local economy through a economic liberalization policy. A number of small and medium state-owned companies have become privatized and the private business sector has grown considerably – further improving the country’s economy. This has been the main source of economic growth in the country, since the agricultural sector continues to struggle with problems such as inefficient, diminitive farms with surplus labour and a lack of investment from both farmers and farming co-operatives. The industry sector, on the other hand, has been making some progress even though that progress has been slow. Recent foreign investment in certain aspects of industry such as steel and energy have contributed to the advancement of the industrial sector in a large way. This has led experts to conclude that the country will continue to see more privatization of state sectors, which will likely continue to improve the economy and help to reduce unemployment and other negative economic factors. Privatization will no doubt also affect the role of the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the economy.
Poland currently enjoys massive export success with an estimated $92.72 billion exported in 2005. In the same year, imports were slighly more profitable with roughly $95.67 billion earned through various forms of importation. The country’s main trading partners are Germany, Italy and France although it also conducts business with the UK, the Czech Republic, China and Russia. The country is currently ranked 24th in terms of GDP and the inflation rate is a mere 1.2%. Poland’s main industries are coal mining, iron, steel, chemical production, shipbuilding, food processing, machine manufacture, glass production, beverages and textiles.