News

Daily Newsletter - 10 May 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (3)
European News (1)
Social (3)
Macroeconomic 
Arrears to the general consolidated budget grew in March 2022
Arrears to the general consolidated budget grew by 5.46% in March 2022 compared to the previous month, to RON 175.4 million, from RON 166.32 million, according to data published on the Finance Ministry (MF)’s website. Arrears over 90 days increased by 23.8%, from RON 51.7 million to RON 64 million, while arrears exceeding 120 days decreased by 1.46%, from RON 61.7 million in February to RON 60.8 million in March 2022. On the other hand, arrears of over 360 days were down 4.16%, from RON 52.9 million to RON 50.7 million.
Florin Cîțu says Romania can achieve 4.5% economic growth
Senate President Florin Cîțu stated on Monday that Romania could achieve 4.5% economic growth with the right measures, which the population had not seen yet. As to the social measures announced by the Government, such as vouchers for the population, he said that listening to those making the estimates did not help the population in any way, as economy would shrink.
Net assets of local open-end investment funds fell 87% in March, to RON 19.6 billion
The net assets of local open-end investment funds stood at about RON 19.6 billion in March, down by 7% against the previous month, according to a report issued by the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF). Net assets corresponding to all categories of local investment funds decreased at the end of March 2022 compared to February 2022. The 9% decline of net assets of local open-end bond and fixed-income instrument funds stood out in the third month of the year, according to data published by the Fund Managers Association (AAF), cited in the ASF report.
Financial 
Banking system in Romania is more solid than ever
The banking system in Romania is more solid than ever, according to CEC Bank CEO Bogdan Neacșu. As a bank, CEC Bank members seek to encourage entrepreneurs to take additional risks, but in a prudent manner, where segments prove to be reliable, Bogdan Neacșu added. He also pointed out that Romania’s economy had been showing a lot of resilience and continuous adaptation over the past two years.
BCR anticipates a new key rate increase
BCR, the second biggest bank on the local market asset-wise, anticipates a further increase in the key rate during this week’s meeting of NBR’s Board of Directors, to 4%, from the current level of 3%, given the high inflation, but also the recent decisions of central banks in Poland and the Czech Republic and the fact that NBR Board’s next meeting will only be in July. The latest increase in the monetary policy interest rate was operated by NBR in April, from 2.5% to 3%.
Ministry of Finance borrowed RON 5.3 billion from the domestic market in April
The Ministry of Finance borrowed RON 5.3 billion from the domestic market, from banks and the population in April 2022 and plans to borrow RON 2.73 billion in May, including additional sessions of non-competitive offers. Even though the budget had been adopted at the beginning of the year and the monthly plan in April was substantially reduced compared to other months (RON 3.4 billion), which gave visibility to banks, RON-denominated loans from banks were extremely weak, only RON 2 billion having been attracted in April.
Investment 
IKEA wants to invest EUR 3 billion to develop e-commerce
Ingka Group, which owns 90% of IKEA furniture stores worldwide, will invest EUR 3 billion in new and existing stores by 2023. Most of the money will be allocated to modify stores located outside cities, in order to double the number of e-commerce distribution centres. This spending will also focus on "blue-box stores" in Romania, China and India, as well as new stores in cities and on planning studios in Canada, Denmark, Italy, India, the United States and other countries.
Hedepy receives EUR 1.2 million investment and expands to three more countries
Online therapy platform Hedepy attracted a EUR 1.2 million investment in April which it will use to expand its services in Greece, Hungary and Ukraine and streamline and develop the technology behind the platform, according to a press release. Both existing investors and new partners, including Purple Ventures, Nation 1 and RSJ, participated in the initial investment round. The company’s value rapidly grew to EUR 10 million.
Nordis Group to inaugurate first phase of Nordis Mamaia complex this year
Nordis Group, the biggest developer of luxury hotel and residential complexes in Romania, will finalize the first phase of the Nordis City hotel and residential complex in Mamaia seaside resort, following a EUR 144 million investment, according to Florin Poștoacă, Nordis Group sales manager. Out of a total of eight buildings that are part of the Nordis City project, four are soon to be completed: two buildings where the hotel will operate and two residential buildings. It will be the largest development on the Romanian seaside.
Legislative 
USR has initiated a draft law on implementation of Nutri-Score labels for food products
Save Romania Union (USR) has initiated a draft law on the implementation of Nutri-Score labels for food products, in order to inform consumers, in a simplified form, about the nutritional qualities of food. There are 5 colours, from dark green (indicating products with the highest nutritional quality) to dark orange (for products with lower nutritional quality), and 5 letters, from A to E. The draft law, initiated by Adrian Wiener, USR MP and a physician, is also known as the "Food Traffic Light" and is successfully used in several European countries, according to the initiator.
President Klaus Iohannis has promulgated a new law
On Monday, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the Law approving Government Emergency Ordinance (OUG) 73/2020 on the Special Telecommunications Service (STS)’s designation as an integrator of critical communications services for public authorities in charge of managing emergency situations. The normative act regulates the aforementioned public authorities’ access to critical communications services, in addition to access to special telecommunications services, during emergency situations, in order to ensure efficient unitary management.
Government has approved two measures included in the "Support for Romania" program
The Government has approved two measures included in the "Support for Romania" program. Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă stated, during the Government meeting on Monday, that three million people would benefit from vouchers, once every two months. The measure involves about RON 3.1 billion spending, half of this amount being covered from European funds. The Prime Minister also presented some details about the second Government Emergency Ordinance to be approved by the Government, through which a second tranche of RON 3.5 billion – from EU funds as well - is allocated for investment projects.
European News 
A third of EU countries oppose changing bloc’s treaties
One in three EU countries oppose launching a procedure promoted by the European Parliament to change the bloc’s treaties, according to a joint document seen Monday (9 May) by journalists. It was distributed on the day that the European Parliament in Strasbourg hosted a closing ceremony for the Conference on the Future of Europe, a consultation of hundreds of EU citizens on ways the bloc could respond better to public expectations. The consultation resulted in 49 proposals containing more than 300 recommendations essentially calling for the EU to become more of federal superstate with more powers and streamlined decision-making.
Social 
The decrease in purchasing power was reflected in sums allocated for 2022 Easter holidays
The decrease in Romanians’ purchasing power was reflected in the amounts allocated for this year’s Easter holidays. About 37% of participants in the latest EY survey said they had experienced at least 10-20% increases in this year’s shopping expenses, while 18% of respondents said they had even spent 30% more this year. Moreover, a fairly significant share of participants, 22%, said that the amounts spent this year had been comparable to those spent last year.
Romania’s elderly population outnumbered the young population by more than 20%
Romania urgently needs more than 50,000 nurses to meet the health challenges of the coming years caused by the ageing population and the sharp deterioration in the health of vulnerable groups, especially children and the elderly, according to an analysis made by Frames consultancy firm. Citing data provided by the National Institute of Statistics, the company shows that Romania’s elderly population has outnumbered the young population aged up to 14 by more than 20%, and the outlook for the following years indicates a worsening of this phenomenon.
National Council of Students calls for an increase in GDP percentage allocated to education
On Sunday, the National Council of Students issued a press release on the adoption, by the Romanian Government, of the 2022-2025 Convergence Program, strongly condemning the way in which the Romanian Government intends to support the development of the education system and calling for a revision of the forecast document and of budget policies, so that the percentage allocated from GDP should grow to at least 4.7%, thus bringing Romania to the European Union average. The institution recalled that only 2.28% of GDP had been allocated to this sector, the lowest allocation of the past few years.