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Jarosław Kaczyński about Poland, Eurostat research and Putininflation. What doesn’t add up

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Jarosław Kaczyński said in Kielce that, according to Eurostat research, the war in Ukraine is responsible for 72 percent of inflation. However, we did not find such studies among Eurostat publications. We found an article by scientists with a similar thesis, but it did not concern Poland.

Vladimir Putin and the war he caused in Ukraine are responsible for such high inflation in Poland and Europe – this is the constant narrative of United Right politicians in response to accusations about galloping prices and the lack of necessary actions. Law and Justice even coined the term “Putininflation” to better reinforce the message to citizens that Putin, and not the Polish government, is responsible for the price increases. How PiS looked for those responsible for rising prices, we analyzed in Konkret24 in 2022.

The PiS president continues to use this message, citing various sources as “evidence” of its truth. This was also the case on September 3 PiS convention in Kielce (Jarosław Kaczyński is running for parliament there from the first place on the list). At a meeting with voters, the PiS president boasted that salaries had increased thanks to the United Right government. “We focused on raising wages. And by administrative methods, i.e. raising the minimum wage (…) and – on the other hand – by fighting unemployment,” he said. “This, of course, leads to salary increases. And indeed, these increases were significant during these years. Also during inflation. This inflation, which – as Eurostat research has shown – is 72 percent the result of the war. “It’s Putininflation” – he said. He then argued that in many months wages were rising faster than prices.

Which Eurostat studies was President Kaczyński talking about? We tried to look for them.

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Increased inflation in Poland before the war

In the second half of 2020, inflation in Poland remained at 2.5%. In January 2021, it was 2.6%, but at the end of the year it was already 8.6%. So there was a big increase before the war in Ukraine. The year 2022, after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, brought further increases. In October 2022, inflation in Poland was already at 17.9%. In February 2023, it amounted to 18.4%. and it goes down from there.

Let us remind you that since 2004 it has been defined by the National Bank of Poland inflation target is 2.5 percent y/y with a symmetrical deviation band of ±1 percentage point in the medium term.

Inflation in PolandPAP/Mateusz Krymski

In mid-August 2023, Eurostat reportedthat inflation in July in Poland was 10.3 percent. – it was the third highest result in the European Union. It was also almost twice as much as in the euro zone, for which the price growth rate reached 5.3%. However, in the entire EU, inflation was at the level of 6.1%.

At the end of August The Central Statistical Office will informł that preliminary data show that inflation in Poland in August amounted to 10.1 percent, which is more or less the same as in July (10.8 percent).

These are not Eurostat studies

Is it really – as Kaczyński said – that Eurostat research shows that 72% of this increase in inflation is due to Is Putin responsible and the war he caused? We did not find such data published by Eurostat. We asked the Eurostat press office about them, but we had not received an answer before the text was published.

However, based on the value of 72%, we came across a study where it was given in relation to inflation – but it is not a report or a Eurostat study. We were guided to the source by Paweł Borys, head of the Polish Development Fund, who on August 1 in a thread on the X platform informed: “The new ECB report (De Santis, Tornese) on the impact of energy shocks on inflation indicates that Russia’s energy blackmail was responsible for as much as 72 percent (!) of inflation in the Eurozone in mid-2022. Inflation would be 2.3 percent instead of 8 .3 percent if it weren’t for Putin. It was the biggest shock in three decades.”

These data were later repeated by the government media after the head of PFR.

This is not a report from the European Central Bank

It seems that President Kaczyński may have confused the European Central Bank with Eurostat. So we looked into studies, in which the inflation analysis mentioned this 72%. It has several dozen pages and is in English. It is dated July 31, 2023. However, this is not an ECB report, but a scientific article published by the ECB as part of the Working Paper Series entitled “Energy supply shocks’ nonlinearities on output and prices”. The title page stipulates that it should not be treated as a bank report; the explanation translated into Polish reads: “This article should not be presented as representing the views of the European Central Bank (ECB). The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ECB” (editor’s translation).

The analysis does not concern Poland, but the euro zone

The authors of the mentioned article are two economists: A. De Santis and Tommaso Tornese. The former works at the ECB.

– The authors analyze the transmission of shocks resulting from the reduction of energy supply in the euro area on inflation, GDP and industrial production, depending on whether inflation in the studied economies was high or low before the supply shock, as well as what the economic situation was before the shock. So they wanted to check to what extent the price shock caused by the limited supply of energy raw materials influenced inflation in the euro zone – explains Dr. Małgorzata Starczewska-Krzysztoszek from the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of Warsaw in an interview with Konkret24. He adds: – The model showed that if it were not for the supply restrictions that influenced energy prices (the demand for energy is inflexible, which, when the supply is limited, leads to an increase in prices), inflation in the euro area would be 5 percentage points lower.

As the portal wrote in early August 2023 Observereconomic.pl, the authors of the article “estimated that in the absence of the energy supply shock, annual HICP inflation (a measure of inflation used in the European Union) in June 2022 would be 2.3% instead of the observed 8.3%.” “Thus, the energy shock caused by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine was responsible for 70 percent of inflation in the Eurozone in the middle of last year. If it were not for this external shock, inflation in the euro zone would have remained around the ECB’s target of 2 percent.” – wrote the portal.

An article by economists and the thesis they put forward, which is responsible for 72%. inflation, therefore concerns the euro zone – to which Poland does not belong; these analyzes cannot apply to our situation. Meanwhile, Jarosław Kaczyński in Kielce talked about the situation in Poland.

– It is worth noting that the authors of the article did not simply examine the structure of inflation (the share of individual components in the amount of inflation), but how/how strongly the energy price shock translated into inflation (and GDP, and industrial production) in a situation when the initial (before the shock) inflation level was low or high – emphasizes Dr. Starczewska-Krzysztoszek.

Economist: Inflation in Poland is still higher than in the euro zone

Marek Zuber, an economist at the WSB University, also emphasizes that the authors of the article in question based their calculations on econometric models and that they concern the Eurozone, not Poland. – And in the euro zone, inflation was and is even twice lower than in Poland – notes the expert in an interview with Konkret24. – The authors’ conclusions are not groundbreaking and coincide with what economists unanimously believe: that the war in Ukraine is responsible for two-thirds or three-quarters of inflation in the euro zone – adds Zuber. In his opinion, earlier it could be estimated that the war in Poland was responsible for 60 percent. inflation, and internal factors for 40 percent. – But now this proportion has significantly reversed. We still have high inflation, 75 percent of which is due to government actions, says the economist.

Main photo source: Organizer’s photos





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