Poland

It was too good a deal to pass up. Starting more than a decade ago, Poles got the chance to take out mortgages denominated in Swiss francs with interest rates less than half the prevailing level for loans in Polish zloty, Bloomberg News reported. More than a million people jumped at the opportunity. Then in 2015, the Swiss unpegged the franc from the euro and it surged in value, just as the zloty was weakening. Some loans doubled in zloty terms, leaving homeowners struggling to pay. Thousands sued, and a European court ruling expected this year could afford them relief.

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Poland’s government has proposed the country’s first balanced central government budget in three decades, as the ruling Law and Justice party tries to boost its reputation for economic management ahead of October’s parliamentary election, the Financial Times reported. Since coming to power in 2015, the socially conservative Law and Justice has sharply boosted welfare spending, with handouts to pensioners and families playing a key role in cementing support for the party among older and less well-off Poles.

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Rafal Lis almost single-handedly created Poland’s private-debt market. In seven years, he built his company, CVI Dom Maklerski sp. z o.o., into a 5.9 billion zloty ($1.6 billion) boutique asset manager. Then, late last year, he feared it would all come crashing down, Bloomberg News reported. The worst day, he says, was Nov. 20. “My knees buckled as I saw the redemption requests,” Lis recalls in an interview at CVI’s Warsaw headquarters.

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Investors from Canada and Asia may offer a much-needed relief for Poland’s fledgling corporate bond market, hammered by the country’s largest corporate default and scandals that undermined trust in its banking watchdog, Bloomberg News reported. With global growth set to fizzle amid rising trade tensions, a unit of Canada’s largest lender, Toronto-Dominion Bank, is looking to invest in Polish bonds to capitalize on the nation’s fast-expanding economy.

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GetBack has postponed its 2017 earnings announcement and initiated restructuring plans, the Polish debt collector said, Reuters reported. “The management board decided to proceed with work aimed at preparing documents related to restructuring within the meaning of the restructuring law,” GetBack said in a statement late Monday. “The management board, guided by the good of the company and all entities remaining with the company in any legal and factual relations, undertook actions aimed at avoiding the effect of the company’s insolvency,” it said.
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Polish debt collector GetBack has so far failed to redeem bonds worth $25 million (18 million pounds), it said on Thursday, augmenting worries about the remaining $719 million worth of bonds of a firm that only last year used to be a darling of capital markets, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. The sudden crash of the bonds and shares of GetBack has taken investors, analysts and regulators by surprise, weighing on share prices of other listed firms. The ratings agency Fitch cut its rating for GetBack's debt to 'restricted default' on Thursday.
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The European Union raised the stakes against Poland over judicial overhauls Brussels calls undemocratic, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented punishment after months of acrimony, the Wall Street Journal reported. The EU’s executive body on Wednesday triggered a never-used sanctions procedure known as Article 7 and informally dubbed the “nuclear option,” taking an unprecedented step aimed at bringing Poland back into line. However, the move risks alienating Warsaw even further from its European counterparts while exposing the EU’s weakness in enforcing its political vision.
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Poland is slashing back plans to tap the bond market after a crackdown on tax avoidance raised more cash than expected, the Financial Times reported. The eastern European nation is running a budget deficit just a tenth of the size it forecast for this year, thanks to a pick-up in economic growth, as well as higher revenue from the tax reforms.
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Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo sacked her finance minister on Wednesday and gave the job to the influential economy minister, saying a reshuffle was needed to make the government's wide-reaching economic stimulus plan more effective, Reuters reported today. Since winning an election last October, Szydlo's Law and Justice (PiS) party has pledged to spend billions of euros of private and public money to boost growth and wealth in Poland, while also giving the state more say in the economy.
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