News

Daily Newsletter - 12 January 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (4)
Investment (3)
Legislative (1)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Ministry of Finance must borrow RON 145 million to finance the budget deficit
Romania needs to borrow RON 145 billion from the domestic and from external markets this year to finance the budget deficit and to refinance previous debts, given the projected level of the budget deficit of 5.84% of GDP (about RON 77 billion) and the approximately RON 68.4 billion debt volume to be refinanced in 2022, according to a document published by the Ministry of Finance. The document issued on Tuesday indicates that, taking into account the objective of developing the government securities market and the government securities absorption capacity on the domestic market, the Ministry of Finance estimates that the budget deficit will be financed about 30% from domestic sources and 70% from external sources.
Romania had the highest current account deficit in EU in Q3/2021
The European Union recorded an overall current account surplus of EUR 72.1 billion in Q3/2021. The largest current account deficits among member states were recorded in Romania (minus EUR 4.9 billion) and Poland (minus EUR 3.5 billion), according to data published by Eurostat on Tuesday. A total of 17 EU member states recorded current account surpluses in Q3 of 2021, nine countries (including Romania) had current account deficits and only one country (Lithuania) had a balanced current account in the third quarter of last year. The highest current account surpluses were reported by Germany (EUR 53.2 billion), Ireland (EUR 23.3 billion), Italy (EUR 20 billion) and the Netherlands (EUR 19.1 billion).
Total average monthly income stood at RON 5,704 per household in Q3/2021
Total average monthly income stood at RON 5,704 per household and RON 2,256 per person in Q3/2021, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS). Total household expenditure amounted to RON 4,939 per month per household (RON 1,954 per person), on average, in the third quarter of 2021, and accounted for 86.6% of the total income. According to the INS, cash income was, on average, RON 5,362 per month per household (RON 2,121 per person) and income in kind is estimated at RON 342 per month per household (RON 135 per person). Salaries and other associated income represented the most important source of income (69.6% of total household income).
Financial 
BCR Social Finance IFN has finalized the implementation of a client management solution
BCR Social Finance IFN, part of BCR Group and Erste, an institution that provides financing and business education for entrepreneurs in Romania, has finalized the implementation of a client management solution developed by New Business Dimensions. The platform includes multiple automation elements and eliminates manual processes for collecting, aggregating and processing the company’s usual client data. Moreover, the application offers users the data needed to carry out their activity, as well as detailed reports. The platform developed by New Business Dimensions can be implemented on clients’ own IT infrastructure, or can be accessed from cloud, as a service.
CEC Bank paid RON 634.3 million dividends to the Romanian state
CEC Bank has announced that RON 634.3 million dividends corresponding to the profit obtained during the tax years 2019 and 2020 were paid to its shareholder, the Ministry of Public Finance. The payment was made at the end of last week, according to information provided by CEC Bank. The bank distributed more than 85% of the net profit attributable to shareholders, in line with the agreement on CEC Bank’s share capital increase concluded with the European Commission in 2019, having one of the highest profit distribution rates on the market.
BCR Pensii wants to become an occupational pension funds (Pillar 4) administrator
This year, BCR Pensii could become the first administrator authorized to carry out occupational pension funds (known as Pillar 4) management activities, a request in this direction having been submitted to the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF). The company currently manages the privately administered (Pillar 2) pension fund BCR and the voluntary (Pillar 3) pension fund BCR Plus. According to the latest data, BCR Pensii managed RON 5.87 billion assets for 711,810 participants on Pillar 2 at the end of November 2021. Moreover, the assets managed by the company on Pillar 3 totaled RON 564.54 million, for 141,078 clients.
PayU, eMAG and Alpha Bank Romania have expanded the Instant Money Bank service to Hungary
PayU, eMAG and Alpha Bank Romania have expanded the Instant Money Bank service to Hungary. As a result, eMAG customers who make online payments with a saved card and subsequently decide to return the purchased products will receive the equivalent value of the returned products within 30 minutes after the request has been resolved. Instant Money Back uses the Mastercard MoneySend and VISA Direct platforms. The Instant Money Back service is a project developed and launched as a European premiere in 2019 in Romania. Alpha Bank certified this new type of transaction, while PayU Romania developed the entire operational flow that facilitates the transaction’s finalization in less than 30 minutes for eMAG customers.
Investment 
Sibiu City Hall invests in 10 charging stations for electric and hybrid cars
Sibiu City Hall will invest more than RON 2.3 million (EUR 477,000) by the end of this year, of which nearly RON 1.9 million (EUR 384,000) will be ensured from the Environmental Fund, for the installation of 10 charging stations for electric or hybrid cars in public spaces, which will add to the five already existing such stations. In order to finance this investment, Sibiu City Hall has joined the "Program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transport by promoting infrastructure for non-polluting road transport vehicles: charging stations for electric vehicles in county capital cities", initiated by the Environmental Fund Administration.
A new Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, Pro Medical, was opened following an investment
A new Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, Pro Medical, has been opened following an over EUR 3.2 million investment. It was opened on 10 January and is located in Cluj-Napoca. The clinic operates in a building with an area of over 1,300 square meters, furnished and equipped according to the highest medical standards and has medical units with over 20 specialties, a medical tests laboratory, a top medical imaging department and a research center.
Bolt has announced a new round of financing, worth EUR 628 million
Bolt has announced the biggest round of financing, meant to further expand the presence of the company’s services and to accelerate the transition from personal cars to shared mobility in cities. The EUR 628 million investment round was led by Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC, with participation from Whale Rock, Owl Rock (a division of Blue Owl), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo and others, having raised Bolt’s valuation to EUR 7.4 billion, the company has announced.
Legislative 
USR Deputy Marian Lazăr has submitted a legislative initiative
Deputy Marian Lazăr, from Save Romania Union (USR), has submitted to Parliament a legislative initiative aimed at completing the Labor Code - the first one this year – according to which 24 December, Christmas Eve, should be declared a public holiday. The Deputy has pointed out that 24 December is a public holiday at the level of the European Union institutions. He has added that Romania’s Labor Code stipulates 15 public holidays, two of which - the first day of Easter and the first day of Pentecost - are celebrated on a Sunday, "this number of public holidays being lower than in other EU member states", including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Germany and Spain.
European News 
Romania has sold or donated nearly 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Romania has received more than 28.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the end of 2020, but less than 60% were used for its own population. About 3.5 million doses were sold to other countries, 2.2 million were donated, and almost one million of what is left has expired. Romania is one of countries with the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with only 42% of its total population having been administered both doses. Nonetheless, it is also one of the countries that regularly buy vaccines provided through deals signed by the European Commission.
Social 
Household consumers benefit from a new protection scheme
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă announced several new measures for household and non-household consumers affected by the increase in the price of electricity, measures that will enter into force on 1 April 2022. As a result, starting from 1 April, VAT on electrical power will be reduced to 5% for consumers who consume up to 300 kWh. They will also benefit from the compensation of the green certificate and the cogeneration bonus for consumption. The Prime Minister also announced that he had called a meeting with the Ministers of Finance, Energy, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, Environment and with the President of the Romanian National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) today to establish new measures to protect the population and businesses from the effects of the growing energy prices.
Environment Minister has announced that Rabla program will be resumed on 4 February
Environment Minister Tanczos Barna has announced that this year’s Rabla car scrapping program will start on 4 February, and that the final version of the program will be finalized this week. Minister Tanczos has pointed out that authorities are committed to increasing the budget for this program by 10% each year for the next three years. Tanczos Barna emphasized the importance of allocating additional funds for electric cars, especially considering that Romania still has a large number of highly polluting cars on the road.