Household and corporate RON-denominated deposits have grown in 2023, having recorded a nearly 20% annual advance in April, while foreign currency savings have decreased, as interest rates paid by banks on national currency-denominated deposits are around 6-7%, while interest rates on foreign currency savings, even though on a rise, are still low. Total retail and corporate RON-denominated deposits, which continue to have a majority share (67.8%), have thus grown by over 19%. They increased by 19.3% (7.2% in real terms) in April 2023 year-on-year, to RON 357.7 billion, and were up 1.7% compared to March 2023.
Romania ranks second in EU in terms of wheat imports and exports in the 2022 - 2023 season, with the conflict in Ukraine having strongly influenced the evolution of agricultural trade, according to an analysis drawn up by the consultants of a brokerage firm. Romania’s wheat imports stood at 0.89 million tons and exports amounted to 3.96 million tons. Total wheat imports in EU were 3.4 times higher than in the 2021-2022 season. On the other hand, Romania ranked first in the classification of maize exporters, with 1.64 million tons, but also imported 1.34 million tons. According to Claudiu Cazacu, a strategy consultant at XTB Romania, these data come, however, after a weak year, with a production of 8.2 million tons, which is only 55% of the 2021 volume.
The number of insolvencies among companies with over EUR 50 million revenues has exceeded pre-pandemic levels and constructions, retail and services are among the most affected sectors, according to an Allianz Trade analysis. The analysis also shows that a credit crunch would cause 95,300 additional insolvencies in 2024. Moreover, a credit freeze would increase insolvencies by an additional 10,700 in the US and 46,300 in Europe.
Revolut Bank has launched a new offer for Romanian clients and has increased the maximum amount that can be granted to clients who apply for a RON-denominated consumer loan to RON 200,000 (+60%). The offer is valid until 31 July 2023. Revolut Bank has granted over EUR 90 million (RON 446 million) RON-denominated consumer loans since the launch of the product in Romania in August 2022.
On Tuesday, 30 May, Banca Comercială Română (BCR) listed the first international issue of green Eurobonds by a bank in Romania on Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE), worth EUR 700 million, under the stock exchange symbol BCR27E. This is BCR’s first financing through listed bonds this year, and the total value of BCR bonds available for trading exceeds RON 7.5 billion, according to a press release issued by BSE.
Banca Transilvania has launched Premium Banking, a business segment that offers services for individuals with savings or investments between EUR 75,000 and EUR 200,000 in the bank and in companies part of BT Financial Group, and with minimum RON 10,000 monthly income cashed into in a BT account respectively. Premium Banking will initially be available for clients in Bucharest, and will become available in areas of Romania where there are the most BT clients with this profile starting from next year. Banca Transilvania has also modified the threshold for the Private Banking niche, from EUR 100,000 to EUR 200,000. BT now has nearly 4,500 such clients, with over EUR 2 billion savings and investments.
Ministry of Finance attracted RON 105 million from banks on Tuesday, 30 May, in addition to Monday’s auction, when it had borrowed RON 817 million at an interest rate of 7.09% per year, through a benchmark government bond issue with 83-month residual maturity. The nominal value of the additional issue was RON 105 million and banks submitted RON 190 million offers. Ministry of Finance plans to borrow RON 5.1 billion from commercial banks in May 2023, which an additional RON 690 million can add to through additional non-competitive bidding sessions related to bond auctions.
The investment in the ELI Park Brăila energy storage equipment plant, announced in the summer of 2022, will amount to EUR 100 million. Czech group Tesla is behind the investment and the estimated finalization date is Q4/2024. That is when recruitments will also start, with a target of 150-200 people. According to a post on the LinkedIn social network, Tesla has secured 100,000 square meters for the future plant in Brăila, within ELI Park Brăila, a logistics project carried out by Element Industrial, controlled by entrepreneur Ionuț Dumitrescu, following a EUR 25 million investment.
Symmetrica, the biggest manufacturer of vibrated paving blocks and kerb stones, which currently owns eight plants, has invested a total of over RON 33 million in the past 5 years, having inaugurated three new production units. This has led to the doubling of its total production capacity between 2017 and 2023 and allowed the company to add new product categories to its offer.
Online therapy platform Hedepy has attracted a new EUR 2.15 million investment to further expand its services in Europe and develop the technology behind the platform, according to a press release. Most of the existing investors, namely Nation 1, Purple Ventures and RSJ investment funds, are increasing their stake in Hedepy. Angel investor Leo Navratil is also sending funds to the platform for the third time. Hedepy will use the funds not only for expansion into four more countries, but also for the development of the online psychiatric care area, which it is currently working on.
Egger Romania has decided to expand its wood recycling activity, started in 2012, by opening two new waste collection centers (Timberpak) in Brasov and Arad respectively, having thus reached a total of five such units. Between 2012 and 2022, Egger Romania integrated into production recycled wood in a quantity equivalent to 34,000 truckloads of wood waste. In 2022, the company exceeded a 21% share of recycled wood in particleboard (chipboard) production, and has a 25% target for 2025. Egger’s investment in the recycling activity in Romania currently amounts to EUR 20 million.
The Presidential Administration announced on Tuesday, 30 May, that President Klaus Iohannis had promulgated the law on sustainable urban mobility and the law on the organization of activities to prevent children’s separation from their families. These are the laws for which George Simion had called people to protest in front of the Parliament building at the beginning of May, under the false pretext that the laws allowed children being taken away from their families and the establishment of camp-cities.
The interim President of the Senate, Alina Gorghiu, has stated that the law on flexible working hours for parents with children up to the age of 8 was on the agenda of the Senate’s meeting on Tuesday, 30 May. The law provides for the right of employees with dependent children up to the age of 8 to benefit from four days per month of work at home, or teleworking. Alina Gorghiu has pointed out that the fewest children in the past 134 years were born in 2022, just over 160,000, which is why a draft law reducing VAT on baby products was adopted by the Senate last week.
As EU member states consider boosting the production capacity of the bloc’s defence industry, they must also decide how much power they are ready to cede to Brussels. The flurry of weapons and ammunition deliveries from Western governments to Ukraine and the bloc’s repeated pledges that EU support will continue for "as long as it takes" are putting a strain on the European defence industry, which so far has not been able to keep up with the demand. To help the industry ramp up ammunition production, the European Commission presented an Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) earlier this month. But although EU support is welcome, some member states worry that Brussels may be too intrusive.
The Ministry of Investments and European Projects has announced that three million payments with energy cards were made during the period 20 February - 25 May 2023, the total value of the paid sums having reached RON 678 million. Of these, 145,000 payments, worth more than RON 30 million, were made via the online platform, and energy cards were used by more than 92,000 beneficiaries to buy firewood. The amount paid, in cash, to compensate for the cost of firewood is RON 62.4 million.
The government announced, in a press release, that it would increase the bonuses granted to teachers in June and September from a total of RON 2,500 to RON 4,000. However, the unions announced that negotiations had failed. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă met with representatives of education union leaders at Victoria Palace amid the teachers’ strike. The proposed measures to increase the income of education personnel were presented during the dialogue which Education Minister Ligia Deca also participated in. More than 20,000 teachers took part in a rally that started in Victoriei Square and ended at Cotroceni Palace on Tuesday, 30 May, with union leaders demanding to be received by President Klaus Iohannis.