News

Daily Newsletter - 11 January 2023

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (4)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
World Bank expects Romanian economy to grow by 2.6% in 2023
Romanian economy is expected to grow by 2.6% this year, according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report published on Tuesday, 10 January. The estimates are lower than those included in another report in June, when the international financial institution had indicated Romania’s GDP would grow by 3.7% in 2023. Moreover, the World Bank has forecast that Romania’s economy will grow by 4.2% in 2024, compared to the 3.9% advance mentioned in June’s projections.
The slowdown of inflation implies a slowdown in consumption
Economist Radu Crăciun has stated that the slowdown of inflation also implies a slowdown in consumption, adding that Romanians cannot consume at the level they did a year ago and see a drop in inflation at the same time. He has also indicated that the increase in interest rates is also in favor of one category of Romanians, namely those who manage to save, manage to put their money in banks and hope that these savings will at least preserve their real value, if not even generate a positive return in real terms.
The annual inflation rate will probably decline in Q1/2023, according to NBR specialists
The annual inflation rate will probably decline in Q1/2023, in line with the latest medium-term forecast, from November 2022, but will fall at a significantly faster pace afterwards, to reach one-digit levels in Q3/2023, according to a press release issued by the National Bank of Romania. Moreover, the balance of supply-side risks to the new inflation outlook is in relative equilibrium, given the recent developments in key energy and agri-food commodity prices, as well as those in their major determinants.
Financial 
NBR’s Board of Directors decided to increase the monetary policy interest rate
The National Bank of Romania (NBR)’s Board of Directors decided on Tuesday, during the first monetary policy meeting in 2023, to increase the key rate to 7% per year, from 6.75% per year as of 11 January 2023. Moreover, it raised the Lending (Lombard) facility rate to 8.00% per year from 7.75% per year and the deposit facility rate to 6.00% per year from 5.75% per year, also starting from 11 January 2023. Furthermore, the existing levels of minimum reserve requirement ratios on both RON- and foreign currency-denominated liabilities of credit institutions were maintained, according to the press release issued by NBR.
Ufuk Tandogan was appointed chairman of Rădăcini Financial Services’ Board of Directors
Ufuk Tandogan, the Turkish executive to have led Garanti Bank Romania for 9 years, from 2012 to 2021, has been appointed chairman of Rădăcini Financial Services’ Board of Directors, a company he also holds a stake in. Rădăcini group had been founded by Iranian businessman Ali Madadi, and his son Darius Madadi took over the company’s management in 2021.
ARB’s General Assembly voted on the new structure of the Board of Directors
The General Assembly of the Romanian Association of Banks (ARB), which met on Tuesday, 10 January 2023, voted on the new structure of the Board of Directors following the filling of a vacant seat. ARB’s Board of Directors is led by Bogdan Neacșu, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Gabriela Nistor, Vice-Chairman and members Mihaela Bitu, Ion Stan, Cristian Agalopol and Cornel Stănescu, whom Mircea Busuioceanu joined as a member yesterday.
Investment 
Microsoft is preparing a USD 10 billion investment in OpenAI
Technology giant Microsoft is in talks to invest about USD 10 billion in OpenAI, the owner of the popular chatbot ChatGPT, according to a Semafor report published on Tuesday, Business Insider reports. The investment would value OpenAI at about USD 29 billion, Semafor’s Liz Hoffman and Reed Albergotti reported. The company is currently valued at about USD 20 billion. The deal was expected to be concluded by the end of 2022, but it is unclear whether it has been finalized yet, Semafor reported, citing some documents sent to potential investors.
Vestra invests RON 1 million in Chrisden’s acquisition
Vestra is consolidating its portfolio of assets by taking over CHRISDEN ARIMEX S.R.L, following a RON 1 million investment, according to a press release. The cited source indicates that Chrisden’s acquisition will allow Vestra to diversify and complete its portfolio of solutions and equipment, while increasing the addressability of heating companies in Romania. The new investment targets the equipment and utilities department, which is the company’s main area of activity.
Delgaz Grid is carrying out a RON 79 million investment
Delgaz Grid, German group E.ON’s distribution company, is carrying out a RON 79 million investment for the network’s modernization and for the SMART implementation with European funds in Neamt County. The project targets the installation of more than 11,000 smart meters for household and small non-household consumers, as well as works on the low-voltage distribution network, on 280 kilometers. Delgaz Grid’s contribution is of over RON 35.5 million (VAT included).
Legislative 
The new education law must pass the Parliament’s vote by 15 March
The new education law proposed by Minister Ligia Deca must pass the Parliament’s vote by 15 March, the leaders of the PSD-PNL-UDMR ruling coalition decided on Tuesday. During the coalition meeting on 10 January 2023, UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor proposed that the education law should be adopted by the government assuming responsibility, as it had happened with the Funeriu law in 2011. However, the coalition leaders eventually agreed that adopting the law by assuming responsibility involved risks, such as the filing of a no-confidence motion, plus the accusation of lack of debate. Therefore, passing the normative act through Parliament is preferable.
Certain companies will have a deadline for issuing documents to employees
The administrator or liquidator of a company undergoing insolvency, bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings will be obliged to issue a document to the company’s employees attesting the activity carried out by the latter and to terminate and transmit to the Employees General Register the termination of their individual employment contracts within maximum 60 calendar days, according to a draft law promulgated by President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday, 10 January. The promulgated provisions complete a draft law adopted by Parliament in April 2021.
Day of Victory of the 1848 Revolution and Romanian Democracy will be celebrated on 11 June
On Tuesday, 10 January, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law establishing the "Day of Victory of the 1848 Revolution and Romanian Democracy" and declaring some cities as martyr-cities of the 1848 Revolution. Central and local public administration authorities, as well as non-governmental organizations may organize events and public actions to celebrate this day.
President Klaus Iohannis has promulgated the law completing Law 95/2006
President Klaus Iohannis has promulgated the law completing Law 95/2006. This law stipulates that the period during which individual medical practices provided medical or medical-dental services constitutes professional experience as a doctor or dentist and is assimilated to accumulated service, subject to certain conditions.
European News 
EU should reach an agreement on climate legislation by summer
The European Union aims to finish negotiations by July on laws to deliver its 2030 climate change target, although a contentious overhaul of fossil fuel taxes will likely take longer, Sweden’s ambassadors to the bloc said on Monday (9 January). The 27-country EU is in the final stretch of negotiating roughly a dozen laws to fight global warming, and last year struck deals on most, including a 2035 ban on sales of new fossil fuel cars and a major overhaul of its carbon market.
Social 
The state will bear the cost of issuing new electronic identity cards
New electronic identity cards are expected to be issued at national level by the end of this year, and the cost of RON 67, currently charged for their release, within the pilot-project in Cluj, will be borne by the state, considering that Romania has allocated EUR 200 million in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) for this project, according to a draft normative act put up for public consultation by the Home Affairs Ministry. Identity cards will no longer be issued in the current format starting from 1 January 2024.
5 out of 10 citizens believe their level of living will improve in 2023
According to the latest Reveal Marketing Research survey, 2022 was the most satisfying year for most Romanians (54%) compared to 2020 (24%) and 2021 (22%) - years heavily marked by pandemic-related restrictions, a press release indicates. According to the cited source, as Romanians regained more freedoms, they became more relaxed and optimistic in 2022, an attitude that reflected in their feelings and resolutions for the new year. 48% of respondents thus said they were optimistic about 2023, while only 15% are pessimistic.