News

Daily Newsletter - 10 January 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (4)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (3)
European News (1)
Social (1)
Macroeconomic 
Retail trade turnover grew by 10.5% in the first 11 months of 2021
Retail trade turnover (excluding trade in motor vehicles and motorcycles) grew by 10.5% as a gross series and by 9.7% as a working-day and seasonally adjusted series in the first 11 months of last year, compared to the similar period of 2020, according to a press release issued by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The 10.5% increase as a gross series was due to the growing sales of non-food products (+14.3%), to the advance recorded by trade in motor fuels in specialized stores (+11.9%) and to the rising sales of food, beverages and tobacco (+5.5%). The seasonal increase was due to the advances recorded by sales of non-food products (+14.5%), by retail trade in motor fuels in specialized stores (+11.1%) and by the sales of food products, beverages and tobacco (+4%).
Inflation rate in the euro area reached a record high of 5% in December
Annual inflation rate in the euro area reached a record high last month and analysts expect the upward trend to continue, a reason for concern for the ECB and investors. According to a flash estimate published by Eurostat on Friday, annual inflation rate in the euro area grew to 5% in December, from 4.9% in November. This is a record level for the euro area and well above the European Central Bank’s (ECB) target of 2%. Analysts had expected the annual inflation rate to reach 4.7% last month. The rise in euro area inflation in December is mainly explained by the fact that energy prices recorded a two-digit increase, of 26%, while prices of services rose by 2.4%, those of non-energy industrial goods were up 2.9% and prices of food, alcohol and cigarettes grew by 3.2%.
ECB chief economist says inflation will decrease at the end of this year
Record euro area inflation of 5% sounds "so strange" after a long period of little price growth but the rate will come down this year, European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane has stated. Data published by Eurostat on Friday, 7 January, indicate that inflation in the euro area reached a record high level of 5% in December, more than twice the ECB’s 2% target. Energy prices in the euro area grew by 26% year-on-year in December and accounted for more than half of the record 5% inflation recorded last month. However, Philip Lane reiterated that the drivers were temporary and that the period from 2020 to 2022 was part of a "pandemic cycle in inflation" and should not be compared to historical norms.
Number of building permits issued in the first 11 months of last year grew by 25%
The number of building permits issued in the first 11 months of last year was 25% higher than in the same period of 2020, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS). A total of 47,276 permits were issued during the aforementioned period. Increases were recorded in all development regions: Bucharest-Ilfov (+1,963 permits), South-Muntenia (+1,729), West (+1,188), North-East (+1,116), Center (+1,112), North-West (+1,056), South-West Oltenia (+702) and South-East (+629). Moreover, 3,902 building permits for residential buildings with a total usable area of 941,739 square meters were issued in November 2021.
Financial 
Citigroup employees who fail to get vaccinated by 14 January will be dismissed
US banking group Citigroup Inc has informed its employees that it will terminate the employment contracts of those who fail to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by 14 January. The company is thus enforcing a policy announced ever since last year. Citigroup will become the first major financial institution on Wall Street to implement a "no-jab, no-job" policy, considering that the financial industry is faced with the issue of bringing employees safely back to the office, amid the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Feza Tan, a former CEO of UniCredit Bank Serbia, has joined UniCredit Romania’s Board
UniCredit Bank, the sixth biggest bank on the local market asset-wise, has announced that Feza Tan has taken over the office of First Executive Vice President and has become a member of the UniCredit Bank’s Executive Board, following her appointment by the bank’s Supervisory Board and after having received NBR’s approval. Feza Tan has a career of almost 30 years in the banking system and significant managerial experience. She had been the CEO of UniCredit Bank Serbia since 2018.
Ministry of Finance issued the first debt of 2022, through two series of bonds
The Ministry of Finance issued the first debt of 2022, through two series of medium and long-term bonds. After the interest rate decreases in December, yields have started growing again. The Ministry of Finance has resumed government securities issues in order to cover this year’s budget deficit of 5.8% of GDP and to refinance the maturing debt. In January, the Ministry plans to issue around RON 5 billion bonds, while RON 1.7 billion debt will have to be repaid. The plan for the entire year is to issue RON 75 billion securities on the domestic market and another approximately EUR 10 billion loans would come from external sources (of which EUR 4.1 billion from the EU and other international financial institutions).
Investment 
EU will need to invest EUR 500 billion in new nuclear power plants by 2050
European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton has stated that the European Union will need to invest EUR 500 billion in new, latest generation nuclear energy facilities by 2050. According to him, it is "essential" for nuclear power to receive the green label within the energy transition, AFP reports. On 31 December 2021, the European Commission published a draft proposal that suggested classifying some natural gas and nuclear energy plants as "green" investments, which would allow them to more easily attract European financing. The European Executive will gather feedback on its proposals until 12 January and hopes to formally present the final text of its proposal by the end of this month. The text will subsequently be discussed with member state governments and the European Parliament for up to six months.
Kaufland is preparing a new logistics project in Ialomiţa County
German group Kaufland, which owns a local network of about 150 hypermarkets, is building a new logistics project in Sineşti, Ialomiţa County, about 30 kilometers away from Bucharest. By the closing of the edition, Kaufland representatives had not responded to ZF’s request regarding the project, and the local town hall officials could not be reached, despite repeated phone calls. Constructions works on Kaufland’s new logistics warehouse are under way. Investments in such a project normally amount to several tens of millions of euros, but the exact amount depends on the size of the warehouse and the price paid for the land.
The airport in Oradea will benefit from a EUR 14 million investment
The Airport in Oradea, subordinated to Bihor County Council, has accessed an over RON 72 million (about EUR 14 million) European project aimed at increasing safety and security, according to a press release issued by Bihor County Council. The investment involves building a perimeter fence with smart fence surveillance systems, installing an access control post for verifying people, vehicles and airport means of transportation, but also building a perimeter road on the airport premises to ensure air traffic safety and security. The project’s financing will be ensured through the 2014-2020 Large Infrastructure Operational Program. The European Commission’s contribution will account for 85% of the total sum, Bihor County Council will ensure 2% of the necessary amount, and the rest of the sum will be covered from the state budget.
Legislative 
Klaus Iohannis notified CCR on the law amending the Civil Procedure Code
The Presidential Administration has transmitted that on Friday, 7 January, President Klaus Iohannis notified the Constitutional Court of Romania on the Law amending Law 134/2010 on the Civil Procedure Code. "On 22 December 2021, the Romanian Parliament submitted to the President of Romania, for promulgation, the Law amending Law no. 134/2010 on the Civil Procedure Code (PL-x 232/2021). The law sent for promulgation aims to amend Articles 524-526 of the Civil Procedure Code, which regulate challenges to delays in lawsuits, in order to harmonize the provisions with those established by the Constitutional Court Decision no. 604/2020. Moreover, the possibility of challenging the paternity established by a final court decision was included into article 3, through a separate norm", the President indicates in the notification.
Law aimed at reducing bureaucracy in the healthcare system has been promulgated
On Friday, 7 January, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law approving Government Emergency Ordinance No. 99/2017 which amends and completes Government Emergency Ordinance No. 158/2005 on social health insurance leaves and allowances. The normative act promulgated by the Head of State on Friday establishes a set of measures aimed at reducing bureaucracy within the healthcare system.
Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law on establishment of National Cyber Security Directorate
The Presidential Administration has announced that on Friday, 7 January, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law approving Government Emergency Ordinance No. 104/2021 on the establishment of the National Cyber Security Directorate (DNSC). The Executive had adopted this emergency ordinance on 27 September. The new institution will thus replace CERT-RO. In the following period, DNSC will take over the personnel, infrastructure and tasks of the former CERT-RO. The Directorate aims to be a major civilian institution, capable of becoming an internationally and nationally recognized Centre of Excellence in the near future.
European News 
Romania’s government adopted new restrictions to limit the pandemic on Thursday, 6 January
Romania’s government adopted new restrictions on Thursday, as the state of alert was prolonged by another 30 days. The most significant change is that textile and plastic face coverings will no longer be permitted as of 8 January. Romanian authorities are making medical or FFP2-grade masks mandatory in all public places as of Saturday. Subsequently, textile or plastic masks will no longer be allowed in either indoor or outdoor spaces. Moreover, there will be restrictions for shows or sporting events, but restaurants and shops can stay open until 10 pm. The number of new COVID-19 cases has been on an upward trajectory since the start of the year, and authorities expect the fifth wave of coronavirus infections to explode later this month.
Social 
Government is considering launching a HoReCa2 state aid scheme
Minister of Entrepreneurship and Tourism, Constantin-Daniel Cadariu stated on Friday, while an official visit to Braşov, that the Romanian Government was considering launching a HoReCa2 state aid scheme, which could also include companies providing associated services, such as leisure ones, but only in the second half of the year, after the budget adjustment. Moreover, he indicated that the more than 8,300 beneficiaries of the HoReCa state aid scheme should receive their money by the end of January, pointing out that the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Tourism was working on closing Measure 1, where payments should soon start.