Romanian economy will stagnate this year, amid concerns about
uncertainties related to macroeconomic conditions, according to the
findings of the fifth edition of the Moneycorp Barometer on the State
of Romanian Economy. 32% of surveyed managers expect economic
stagnation in 2023, while another 28% see marginal economic growth. An
identical percentage, 28%, see a mild recession this year, while 12% of
executives are pessimistic and expect severe economic downturn in 2023.
Countries in Central and Eastern Europe record the highest inflation
rates, with price rises ranging from over 15% in Slovakia and Romania
to 55% in Turkey, a country that has been struggling with this problem
since before it became a widespread disease for almost everyone. By
comparison, the average inflation rate across all EU countries was 9.9%
in February 2023, while in the euro area it fell to 8.5%. So while this
is a general problem across Europe, the pace of price increases differs
considerably between West and East.
Turnover from market services mainly provided to enterprises grew in
nominal terms in January 2023 year-on-year, by 19.4% as a gross series,
and by 21.9% as a working-day and seasonally adjusted series, according
to data published by the National Statistical Institute (INS) on
Wednesday, 22 March. Turnover from market services mainly provided to
enterprises, as a working-day and seasonally adjusted series, rose 0.7%
in nominal terms in January 2023 compared with the previous month.
Wholesale trade turnover (except for trade in motor vehicles and
motorcycles) grew in nominal terms in January 2023 year-on-year, by 11%
as a gross series, and by 16.4% as a working-day and seasonally
adjusted series, according to data published by the National
Statistical Institute (INS) on Wednesday, 22 March. Wholesale trade
turnover (except for trade in motor vehicles and motorcycles), as a
gross series, decreased by 12.5% in January 2023, compared with the
UniCredit Bank Romania, controlled by the Italian group bearing the
same name, has decided that it will not offer dividends to shareholders
for the 2022 tax year, and that nearly RON 845 million of last year’s
profit, of RON 879.2 million, will be reinvested to increase capital
and solvency, and RON 34.2 million will go to reserves. This decision
by UniCredit Bank Romania’s management will be discussed by the bank’s
shareholders during a General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for
Fintech iBanFirst carried out over EUR 700 million transactions for
Romanian companies in 2022, according to a press release. This year,
amid the growing demand for digital financial services and currency
risk hedging solutions, the company aims at a double volume of
transactions, above the threshold of EUR 1 billion. iBanFirst recorded
a 300% increase in the number of Romanian companies using the platform
in 2022, having currently reached 330 clients.
Two new wood composite profile factories will be built in Romania, in
two different localities, following over RON 15 million investments.
After having invested EUR 2 million in doubling the production capacity
of its plant in Buzau, Bencomp, the biggest wood composite profiles
manufacturer in Romania, will invest in a new plant in Arad in 2023.
The value of the investment in the new wood flour and briquettes plant
has been estimated at RON 10,010,766 (over EUR 2 million).
Portuguese company BA Glass is to invest over EUR 1 billion in its 12
plants over the next five years, including EUR 150 million in Romania,
according to data published by the State Agency for Investments and
Foreign Trade. The investment plans in Romania involve two new latest
generation furnaces in Bucharest and a 25,000 square metre warehouse,
Rador reports. BA Glass is the biggest glass packaging manufacturer in
Portugal. Formerly known as Barbosa & Almeida, it is now the only
glass packaging manufacturer in Romania, producing around two million
bottles a day and aiming, following its new investments, to double its
production capacity within the next three years.
Real estate developer Nusco Imobiliara has started construction works
on Nusco Homes, a new complex of villas in the north of Bucharest, in
the green area of the town of Tunari, an investment estimated at over
EUR 30 million. The project is being developed on a plot of land of
over 50.000 square meters. Nusco Homes will host 121 villas of six
types and will be developed in two phases. The first phase, with 52
villas, will be finalized by Q2/2024 and the entire project will be
ready for delivery at the end of 2025.
Holde Agri Invest, a Romanian company that operates agricultural land,
has bought a new farm in Dâmbovița County, according to a press
release. The farm has an area of about 980 hectares of land and will be
integrated into Holde’s Conțești nucleus. According to the press
release, the value of the transaction amounts to EUR 2 million, of
which Holde has paid about EUR 1.2 million from its own sources, with
the remainder to be paid by the end of this year in several
instalments. The land on the farm is operated on a leasehold basis and
the transaction value includes both the farm’s own agricultural base
and the machinery fleet that will be integrated into the Conțești
On Wednesday, 22 March, the Ministry of Finance put up for public
consultation the draft Government Decree stipulating that insurers
selling mandatory civil liability car insurance (RCA) policies shall
charge the rates valid on 1 March 2022. The document stipulates that if
the policy rates charged by RCA insurers on 1 March 2022 are higher
than those charged on 1 March 2023, RCA insurers shall apply the lower
of the two rates.
Minister of Investments and European Projects Marcel Bolos said, at the
end of the government meeting that a decision on decarbonisation
measures had been adopted so that this milestone of the National
Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) can be validated by the European
Commission. Another milestone for which measures have already been
taken by Parliament is the one regarding whistleblowers. Minister Bolos
also said that other milestones included in payment request number 2
were related to the energy sector, but also to the Ministry of
Development, on the seismic risk infrastructure component, for which
the Government is ready to provide the necessary information and
documents so that those PNRR milestones should be validated.
The Government adopted on Wednesday, 22 March, the Emergency Ordinance
(OUG) on the financing of activities included in the Loan Agreement
(Health Sector Reform Project - Improving the Healthcare System’s
Quality and Efficiency) between Romania and the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, signed in Bucharest on 17 June 2014 and
in the Loan Agreement (Additional Financing for the Health Sector
Reform Project - Improving the Healthcare System’s Quality and
Efficiency) between Romania and the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, signed in Bucharest on 11 June 2021.
The normative act provides for the allocation of RON 343 million from
the state budget.
On Wednesday, 22 March, the Government adopted a decision repealing
Government Decision 1573/2022 approving the postponement of the closing
of certain lignite-fired power capacities and related mining
operations. The repeal of Government Decision 1573/2022 is a
consequence of the amendments brought to Government Emergency Ordinance
108/2022 on the decarbonisation of the energy sector.
Just a few days after Romanian authorities asserted that the second
payment of the national recovery and resilience plan would be granted,
the debate over a major milestone in the third payment has already
heated up. Romania has committed to reforming the so-called special
service pensions through the recovery plan. These are pensions granted
to certain professional categories such as judges, prosecutors,
military, police and secret service employees, some of which are even
ten times higher than the average pension in the country. The trouble
with special pensions is that they are not based on the contributory
principle and are considered a burden on the state budget. The PNL-PSD
governing coalition promised to make a pension reform to eliminate
inequalities, as requested by the European Commission.
Increasing salaries continues to be among employers’ priorities in
2023. Six out of ten companies say they have allocated a budget for
salary increases for this year, while 73.7% adopted this measure last
year as well, according to the latest survey conducted by eJobs
Romania. A quarter of respondents in the survey said salaries would not
grow by more than 5% this year, while 37.5% have planned 5-10%
increases compared to last year. 20.8% announced increases of 10% to
20% and 12.5% said that pay rises would be adjusted to inflation.
The National Liberal Party announced on Wednesday, 22 March that
reducing and preventing school dropout was one of the party’s
priorities, and EUR 265 million would be allocated in the following
period to prevent and reduce school dropout in secondary education. To
this end, the Ministry of Education has put up for public consultation
the Applicants’ Guidelines corresponding to the call for projects
"PNRAS Grant Scheme - Round II", financed through the National Recovery
and Resilience Plan.