The annual inflation rate fell from -1.7% in July to -1.9% in August, but the chances of seeing another reference interest rate cut from the National Bank of Romania (BNR) are almost zero, according to economists. Adrian Vasilescu, adviser to the BNR Governor, stated that any monetary policy decision requires an official announcement.
The Ministry of Finance borrowed yesterday, September 10, RON 500 million (EUR 113 million) from the commercial banks through an issue of discount state bonds maturing in April, 2020. The average yield was 2.6% per year, up from the previous tender for such bonds.
The sales of cars and motorcycles went up 1.4% in July on a monthly basis (down 0.2% in seasonally adjusted figures), according to a press release issued by the National Institute for Statistics (INS). The turnover growth rate was 7.6% on an annual basis.
The minimum salary could be set at RON 1,400 beginning with January 1, 2017. The Cabinet has already decided to increase the minimum salary from RON 1,050 to RON 1,200 in January, 2016, a 14% payroll increase for the 1.5 million employees who are paid the minimum salary.
Laszlo Diosi, CEO of OTP Bank, stated yesterday, September 10, that the bank is cooperating with the authorities in order to put together a program for helping the debtors whose loans are denominated in Swiss francs. A solution is expected before the end of this year. OTP Bank was one of the first banks in Romania to launch a protection program for clients who find it hard to keep up with their installments.
BCR Banca pentru Locuinţe (BCR BpL) has launched a new RON-denominated loan called "The Flat Housing Loan", which does not force clients to sign a saving-borrowing contract, according to a press release. The loan can be used only for house modernization, rehabilitation, consolidation, expansion or construction purposes.
BCR has ended the negotiations for selling EUR 2.7 billion worth of non-performing loans because the bidders had offered too little money. The only bidders for the so-called Neptune Project were Blackstone Group and Lone Star Funds. The bank and the two funds declined to comment.
Real estate developer Israel Land Development Company is about to resume investing in the Jackob Park residential project. Eagle Development, a subsidiary of ILDC, has already started working on the foundations of the first two blocks of flats. The project is located near the Dobroesti lake and work has been on stand-by since before the economic crisis.
The Socea family has completed the construction and furnishing of Polaris Medical, a recovery hospital located in Suceagu, near Cluj-Napoca. "The hospital opened in August and we already have 20 patients, but expect to reach an occupancy rate of 40% this year. By the end of 2016, we think we can reach an occupancy rate of 70% and a turnover of EUR 3.5 million," according to Tudor-Alexandru Socea, chairman of Polaris Medical's board.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Tourism (MECT) will amend the tourism bill, currently up for public debate on the ministry's website. Representatives of Romania's tourism employers had requested in July that the bill be removed from the website on grounds that most of the text had been copied from dozens of other laws.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta left for Turkey again on Thursday as rumors of his impending sacking continue to grow. The PM has allegedly told his staff that he would leave in order to have more tests done on his leg, but no official announcement was made.
Romania reported for July the first positive natural increase of this year, as the number of births exceeded the number of deaths. This situation was reported by the INS for July-September, 2014, as well, but the revised data showed a decrease.
The Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea chemical plant will lay off 225 employees, almost 10% of its staff, in an attempt to bring the payroll expenses in line with the reorganization plan. Half of employees will be laid off from the Pitesti petrochemical division, which has been closed since 2010.