Daily Newsletter - 11 April 2019


Macroeconomic News (3)

Exports pass EUR 70 billion threshold

The Romanian economy is on track for all-time high exports in 2019, even though the trade deficit remains a major problem. Automotive, manufacturing, agriculture and software development are the main sectors that will push exports above the EUR 70 billion threshold. Last year, the Romanian economy exported goods and services worth over EUR 67.7 billion, up 81.3% from 2010 and 8.1% above the previous year.


Industry still accounts for close to 25% of Romania's GDP

The industry continues to account for the biggest share of Romania's GDP: 23.6% (despite a 0.6 percentage point drop from 2017), according to the National Statistics Institute (INS). By comparison, in the more developed states of the European Union industry accounts for 19-20% of GDP.


Prices up 4% in March

The upward trend in consumer prices gained speed in March, thus confirming the concerns voiced at Tuesday's meeting of the National Bank of Romania (BNR). The consumer price index was 4.03% in March, up from 3.83% in February. The latter was already outside BNR's target range.


Financial News (4)

Alpha Bank bonds get Baa2 rating from Moody's

Moody's has awarded a Baa2 rating (investment grade) to the first issue of mortgage bonds of Alpha Bank Romania's program. The EUR 1 billion worth of bonds are backed by a portfolio of ongoing mortgages and real estate investments.


Bankers move toward public sector

Constantin Paraschiv, President of the Federation of Insurance and Banking Unions (FSAB), said the local commercial banks have stopped making too many calculations about how to lay off employees without disrupting the banking system. The reason behind this change of strategy is the fact that more and more banking employees are now moving to the public sector, where they are paid higher salaries and offered more benefits.


EC rejects PSD request to investigate ROBOR

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a letter sent to several Romanian MEPs that there was no evidence of a violation of the law in the calculation of the ROBOR rate. "First of all, the documents you have attached to your letter are more than ten years old, dating back to the beginning of the financial crisis, and do not show, at first glance, sufficiently clear evidence of infringement to justify an investigation into the matter," reads the commissioner's reply.


Economy Commission postpones amendment discussion

The amendment brought by Senator Daniel Zamfir (ALDE) to the bill amending Decree 114 is before the senators sitting on the Economy Commission. The initiative stipulates the application of the formula replacing the ROBOR index to the calculation of interest rates for ongoing RON-denominated loans.


Politics (2)

Tariceanu met Vice President Mike Pence in Washington

Senate President Calin Popescu-Tariceanu met with US Vice President Mike Pence and Lt. Gen. (R) Keith Kellogg, the US Deputy National Security Adviser, according to a Senate statement. Tariceanu invited the US Vice President to visit to Romania "in order to witness the resilience of the transatlantic relationship with Romania and to learn about the realities and relevance of the topics discussed from a country that finds itself in the first line of NATO's eastern flank".


President Iohannis open to consultations

President Klaus Iohannis said in Brussels on Wednesday that he is very open to consultations with the political parties and that it seems strange to reject an offer of dialogue with the President of Romania. "It is a consultation I am very open to. I believe that, since we have called a referendum which has justice, integrity, anti-corruption and the judiciary situation as its main themes, then a discussion is required," said the president.


Social (2)

Demographic decline slowed down in February

Romania's population continued to decline due to demographic reasons, but the decline slowed down in February, when 9,736 inhabitants were lost, compared to 10,137 in the same month of 2018, mainly due to the decrease in mortality, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute (INS) on Wednesday. In January, the population of Romania continued to decline for demographic reasons: 9,867 residents were lost.


Rabla Clasic and Rabla Plus programs about to begin

Environment Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu announced on Wednesday, in Titu, the launching of the Rabla Clasic and Rabla Plus programs, which will begin on Friday, April 12. Gavrilescu said that this year's scrapping premium will remain at RON 6,500. The premium can be supplemented with an ecobonus of RON 1,000 or RON 1,700 (for hybrid vehicles).