The prolonged drought and the bad harvest it heralds has convinced macroeconomists to reduce their economic growth forecasts for 2015. ING Bank reduced its economic growth forecast from 4.5% to 3.7%, Banca Transilvania from 4.6% to 4%, while Banca Comerciala Romana maintained the very cautious 3.2% forecast.
Malta, the Czech Republic and Romania had the highest economic growth rates of the European Union in the second quarter of this year, according to estimates released on Tuesday by the Eurostat. The European Union's GDP went up 1.9% between April and June, while the Eurozone's GDP increased by 1.5%.
The Ministry of Finance (MFP) borrowed on Tuesday RON 27.8 million from the commercial banks, far below the RON 75 million target. On Monday, the MFP had borrowed RON 500 million through an issue of bonds with a residual maturity of 21 months at 1.76% per year. Monday's issue was fourfold oversubscribed.
Bancpost will soon launch a program for converting to the national currency all its CHF-denominated loans, according to representatives of the collective negotiations team. The team is headed by Alin Iacob, president of AURSF. The loans will be converted to the national currency with a flat interest rate of 1.5% for three years. Nicolae Cinteza, head of BNR's Supervisory Division, stated that Bancpost's conversion process would lead to a 20% drop in the value of loans.
Ilie Carabulea, the biggest shareholder of Banca Comerciala Carpatica, has reached a deal with US investment fund J.C. Flowers in order to sell a 25% stake in the bank. The acquisition will be handled by JCF III Europe Holdings LP and will be completed as soon as certain prerequisites are met, such as securing BNR's approval. Johan Gabriels, CEO of BCC, announced the shareholders in June that the US fund's bid had been revised following the rejection of the Nextebank merger.
Banks issued RON 1.7 billion worth of new consumer loans in July, up 50% year-on-year, as the average interest rate for such products dropped 2 pp, down to 9.4% per year. The aggregated value of new housing loans reached RON 900 million, up a third from July, 2014, while the average effective interest rate was 4% per year, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR).
The Oradea City Hall has recently completed the weatherproofing of nine blocks of flats. The project cost EUR 940,000 and half of the money came from the European Union, while another 11% came from the state budget.
The Sibiu County Council (CJ) has completed a EUR 150,000 investment project in setting up a command center for emergency situations in the county. Most of the funds were spent on equipment and furniture for the center.
Liviu Dragnea, interim leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), announced on Tuesday that the ruling coalition parties had agreed to take up again the special pensions bill in commissions in order to make bigger changes. His statement contradicted Bogdan Niculescu-Duvaz, who had told the media that the modification procedure had been completed.
Members of the Budget, Finance and Banking Commission of the Chamber of Deputies decided on Tuesday to take up again the loans conversion bill submitted by Deputy Ana Birchall (PSD). "From the answers we had received, we determined that fair and balanced solutions must be identified in order to split the financial burden between the bank and the client," said Birchall.
The detaining of Sorin Oprescu by the police has triggered an unofficial race for the City Hall. The race was opened by Nicusor Dan, who had run as an independent in 2012 and got 8% of the vote. A vocal critic of Oprescu, Dan's main message is that corruption cannot be rooted out without a massive campaign conducted at all seven halls.
Romanian students could have Syrian migrants and refugees as roommates beginning with November. The Ministry of Education is making an inventory of schools and universities in order to assess their capacity to host migrants and refugees, a move that triggered a storm of controversy.
Churches to distribute school supplies and clothes to almost 10,000 poor children from Bucharest and the Ilfov and Prahova counties, according to Catalin Stoica, spokesman of the Patriarchy. "Many churches have already bought the supplies and will soon begin to distribute them," said Stoica.