News

Daily Newsletter - 1 November 2021

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (1)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Romania has outranked Hungary in terms of GDP per capita this year
Marcel Ionescu-Heroiu, a senior urban development expert at the World Bank, has stated that Romania has outranked Hungary in terms of GDP per capita this year, for the first time, after Romania outranked Slovakia in 2020. According to him, Romania is thus the country with the best dynamics in Europe, and has had one of the best economic evolutions in the world, and, if the trends are maintained, Romania could outrank Poland in 1-2 years’ time. GDP per capita in Romania in 2020 was 72% of the European Union average, up by 3% against 2019, when its value had stood at 69% of the European average, and by 7% compared to 2018, when the GDP per capita had been 65% of the EU average, according to Eurostat data.
The number of building permits issued for residential buildings grew by 14.2% in September 2021
The number of building permits issued for residential buildings grew by 14.2% in September 2021, compared to the same month of 2020 and by 0.5% month-on-month, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). 4,899 building permits for residential buildings (+ 0.5%), with a total usable area of 1,192,042 square meters (-0.4%), were issued in September 2021. Of the total building permits for residential buildings, 71.1% were for rural areas. Moreover, September 2021 also marked an increase in the usable area of building permits issued for non-residential buildings (+28.2%).
Ireland and Romania have the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in EU
The overall tax-to-GDP ratio stood at 41.3% in the 27 European Union member states in 2020, slightly higher than in 2019 (41.1%), following the decrease in the nominal GDP, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data published by Eurostat. The tax-to-GDP ratio varies considerably among the EU member states. The lowest shares of social security contributions and taxes in GDP were recorded in Ireland (20.8%) and Romania (27.2%), and the highest tax-to-GDP ratios were reported by Denmark (47.6%), France (47.5%) and Belgium (46.2%) last year.
Financial 
UniCredit Bank supplements the ceiling allocated to SME Invest program with RON 464 million
UniCredit Bank has received, from the Ministry of Finance, a RON 464 million supplementation of the existing credit guarantee ceiling for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small enterprises with medium market capitalization, through the 2021 edition of the SME Invest Romania program. The ceiling’s supplementation up to RON 1.78 billion occurs considering that UniCredit Bank has used most of the over RON 1.31 billion ceiling initially allocated through the program, having used its own funds and the state guarantees to finance local companies affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Banca Transilvania has finalized the acquisition of the stake held by Getin Holding at Idea Bank
Banca Transilvania has announced that it has finalized the acquisition of the entire stake held by the Poles from Getin Holding at Idea Bank, as well as of the participations in Idea Leasing IFN SA and Idea Broker de Asigurare’s the share capital. The institution signed the takeover agreement in June, within a RON 213 million (EUR 43 million) transaction, and recently received the necessary approvals from the National Bank of Romania and the Competition Council allowing it to finalize the transaction. According to BT, the current Idea::Bank will become a digital banking hub, going beyond the traditional banks area, and all three entities currently operating under the Idea brand will have new corporate identities.
Users of Visa and Mastercard cards issued by Libra Bank will be able to make payments by phone
Libra Internet Bank, a member of the US investment group New Century Holdings, has announced that all users of Mastercard and Visa cards issued by the institution, who own devices with Android operating system, have had the opportunity to enroll their payment instruments into Google Pay since Friday, 29 October. Payments by mobile phone have grown considerably lately, as more and more consumers are using mobile wallet solutions for their everyday purchases. The bank’s clients who wish to enroll their payment instruments need to have an active Google account and a device with minimum Android 5 operating system, which ensures access to Google services and to the NFC technology.
Investment 
Călăraşi County will have a bridge over the Borcea Arm
Tourism in Călăraşi will be revitalized by building a bridge over the Borcea Arm that will facilitate access to the island where Plaja Mare is located. The county councilors from Călăraşi met last week to approve the financing request and the general estimate for the "Bridge project over the Borcea Arm". The documents are necessary for the project to be included in the Anghel Saligny National Investments Program. According to the draft decision, the general estimate provides for a total investment value of RON 179,311,186, of which RON 174,575,419 would come from the state budget, and the rest, over RON 4.7 million, would be borne by Călăraşi County Council.
Belgian investor Mitiska Reim and constructor Square 7 Properties open a new shopping center
Belgian investor Mitiska Reim, who specializes in shopping centers in Europe, has announced the opening of a new project in Baia Mare and the expansion of the retail park in Mediaş, in partnership with constructor Square 7 Properties. The investment in Baia Mare totals 8,400 square meters of leasable area and 17,500 square meters of commercial area, and Altex, C&A, Kik, Jysk, DM, Numero Uno, Pepco, Sinsay, Sportisimo, Superzoo or Xpress are among its tenants. Moreover, German discounter Lidl, the leader of the Romanian food trade, has recently inaugurated a unit in the aforementioned shopping center in Baia Mare.
Most businesses in Bulgaria and Romania show a very low Digital Intensity Index
The Digital Intensity Index (DII) saw a general improvement at the European Union level in 2020, compared to 2018, with increases at both very high (+5.0%) and high (+0.4%) levels of digital intensity, while in Bulgaria and Romania, most businesses show a very low DII, indicating small investments in digital technologies, according to the data published by the European Union’s Statistical Office (Eurostat) on Friday. The DII measures the use of different digital technologies by enterprises and its score (0-12) is determined by how many of the 12 selected digital technologies the enterprises use.
Legislative 
Alexandru Rafila believes that mandatory green certificate at the workplace creates discrimination
The Social Democrat Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s representative at the World Health Organization, has stated that the draft law making the green certificate mandatory at the workplace creates discrimination between various social categories and generates more problems than solutions. The Social Democrat has pointed out that talks must be held with all those affected by this legislative proposal of the Government.
European News 
EU finance ministers greenlighted Romania’s recovery and resilience plan
EU finance ministers greenlighted Romania’s recovery and resilience plan, opening the door for the disbursement of about €3.8 billion by the end of the year. The recovery plan covers the phasing out of coal and lignite power production and deploying renewables, as well as making investments and reforms in the areas of buildings renovation, railways modernization, water and waste management, and reforestation measures. Romania has applied for €14.2 billion in grants and €14.9 billion in loans, for a total of around €29.2 billion, from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism.
Social 
Romania will transfer severe COVID-19 patients to Germany
On Sunday, 31 October 2021, the National Committee for Emergency Situations approved the Decision authorizing the Ministry of Health and the Home Affairs Ministry, through the Department for Emergency Situations, to sign the agreement for COVID-19 patients’ transfer to Germany. The aforementioned patients will be transported by aircraft belonging to the National Defense Ministry or to the German Air Force. Moreover, the head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat announced on Friday that a medical delegation from the German Ministry of Defense had arrived in Romania and would evaluate the critical COVID-19 cases in intensive care units.
CNCAV has announced that the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 exceeded 7 million
The National Committee for the Coordination of Anti-Covid-19 Vaccination Activities (CNCAV) has announced that the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose exceeded 7 million on Sunday, 31 October 2021. A number of 65,169 people got vaccinated on Sunday, 41,196 of them with the first dose. Of the 65,169 vaccinated persons, 22,154 were immunized with the Pfizer serum, 561 with the Moderna vaccine, eight with Astra Zeneca and 18,473 with Johnson & Johnson.