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Polish economy could return to pre-virus levels in 2021 -state fund head

(Updates with details)

WARSAW, July 7 (Reuters) – Poland could return to pre-coronavirus levels of economic activity in the first or second quarter of 2021, the head of state fund PFR said on Tuesday, adding that the economy could grow by 5% in the third quarter versus the second.

The largest economy in the European Union’s eastern region has been hit hard by the pandemic, with the finance ministry expecting GDP to fall around 4% in 2020, but economists expect it to make a quick recovery compared to many others.

“The recession ended in the second quarter … We have an economic rebound, the end of the recession and a growth of GDP of about 5% (in the third quarter) compared to the second quarter,” Pawel Borys told a conference.

Borys said that it would take at least three to four quarters to return to pre-crisis levels of economic activity, with this being possible in the first or second quarter of 2021.

He also said that PFR, which invests in Polish businesses, estimated that the drop in numbers of people in employment during the last three months was about 150,000-180,000.

A report published on Tuesday by PFR and the Polish Economic Institute said that the number of companies planning to maintain staffing at current levels rose to 79% at the beginning of July from 62% at the beginning of April.

(Reporting by Anna Koper, writing by Alan Charlish; editing by John Stonestreet and Jane Merriman)

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