News

Daily Newsletter - 12 May 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (4)
Legislative (3)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Annual inflation rate grew to 13.76% in April
Annual inflation rate grew to 13.76% in April 2022, from 10.15% in March, as prices of non-food products increased by 16.35%, those of food products were up 13.54% and services were 7.11% more expensive, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics on Wednesday. According to the cited source, the harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) stood at 102.37% in April 2022, compared to March 2022. Annual inflation rate in April 2022 compared to April 2021, calculated based on the harmonised index of consumer prices, was 11.7%. The average rate of consumer prices in the last 12 months (May 2021 - April 2022) compared to the previous 12 months (May 2020 - April 2021), calculated based on HICP, stood at 6.4%.
Former Finance Minister Dan Vîlceanu warns that inflation could reach 20% in October
On Wednesday, MP Dan Vîlceanu from the National Liberal Party (PNL), a former Minister of Investments, urged the Minister of Finance to urgently present a package of measures to reduce inflation, which will otherwise exceed 20% by October, after the annual inflation rate reached 13.8% in April. The Liberal indicated that the lack of measures would also mean that the state would borrow even more, at higher interest rates, and those loans would sooner or later be paid by Romanians through higher taxes.
Romania is not among the first countries in terms of inflation
Government spokesman Dan Cărbunaru stated on Wednesday that Romania was not among the first countries in terms of inflation, pointing out that the Government had already come up with a whole series of measures to support the population without affecting inflation. Romania has not been among the EU countries with the highest inflation for several months, since February this year, when it ranked 11th in the top of member states with the highest annual inflation rates.
Financial 
Economists from Goldman Sachs expect NBR to increase the key rate to 6.5%
Economists from Goldman Sachs, one of the most powerful banks on Wall Street, expect the National Bank of Romania (NBR) to increase the monetary policy interest rate to 6.5%, according to a report published last week, seen by ZF. In the previous report, analysts had estimated a 5.5% key rate. The upward trend of monetary policy interest rates is visible in the entire region, amid the rising inflation and the tensions generated by the war in Ukraine.
First Bank ended 2021 with a RON 57 million net profit
First Bank (formerly Piraeus Bank), owned by the US investment fund J.C. Flowers, has reported a RON 57.1 million profit for 2021, a significant advance compared to the previous year, while the bank’s net operating income grew by 7% year-on-year, to RON 354 million. At the end of 2021, the bank’s total assets exceeded RON6.9 billion, while equity stood at nearly RON 800 million, and sources attracted from clients amounted to RON 5.2 billion, according to the financial data transmitted by bank officials on Wednesday.
UniCredit is in preliminary talks to sell its subsidiary in Russia
Italian banking group UniCredit is in preliminary talks to sell its subsidiary in Russia after having been approached by interested buyers, within what could be the second exit of a major European bank from the Russian market in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The Italian bank has attracted unsolicited interest from financial institutions as well as firms interested in obtaining a banking license on Russia’s territory, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the talks. The potential buyers are not on the list of institutions sanctioned by Western states amid the war in Ukraine, according to the sources, who added that negotiations were at an early stage.
Investment 
Rompetrol Rafinare has finalized a USD 4.2 million investment
Rompetrol Rafinare, a company member of the KMG International Group (Rompetrol), has recently finalized a USD 4.2 million investment in the modernization of the Vacuum Distillation (DV) Plant from Vega Ploiesti refinery. The significant stages of the project consisted of the design, execution, transportation and installation of the new technological furnace, which heats the raw materials and fractionates it under low pressure conditions.
Ansthall Trading invests EUR 7 million in a biscuit and flour-based products factory
Ansthall Trading, a company that is 95% owned by Vicenzo Randisi, a 50-year-old Italian, is investing EUR 7 million in a biscuit and flour-based products factory in Ialomita County. Vicenzo Randisi has stated that he chose to invest in Romania as conditions are better than in Italy, the market is good and is developing and, even though, it has many imports, it is also a very large producer of raw materials.
Adservio attracts EUR 2 million investment and prepares for international expansion
Educational management platform Adservio has attracted a EUR 2 million investment in a round funded by Catalyst Romania investment fund. The investment will support expansion on the local and international markets, an increase in client and partner portfolios, and the development of new functionalities. Adservio has 14 years of experience on the education technologies market. The Adservio team consists of 40 people.
BEESERS invests over EUR 500.000 in the development of new telemedicine functionalities
BEESERS, the Romanian home health care services app, has expanded its range of functionalities by launching telemedicine services, namely medical advice via chat and medical examinations via video call, following a EUR 500,000 investment. People who suffer from temporarily or permanently reduced mobility, as well as those who do not have the time to go to the doctor can thus benefit from remote medical support via telemedicine. Moreover, employees and employers can save resources by using subscriptions. Furthermore, the app offers free access for 30 days to users who resort to the medical chat services, anytime until the end of June 2022.
Legislative 
Romanians will have access to high-speed internet services on the entire territory of the country
The law on ensuring individuals’ access to fixed broadband internet services has been adopted by the Romanian Senate, the decision-making chamber, with 83 votes in favor and no votes against. The law will now be sent to President Klaus Iohannis for promulgation. The draft law had been initiated by Liberal (PNL) MPs George Tuță and Sabin Sărmaș and signed by another 150 senators and deputies from all parliamentary parties.
Senate has passed the Offshore Law
The offshore law was adopted by the Senate on Wednesday with 91 votes in favor and 13 against. Except for the senators from the Alliance for Romanians’ Unity (AUR), all political groups supported the draft law. No major changes were made to the version proposed by the ruling coalition during the specialized committee’s debates. Save Romania Union (USR) had submitted an amendment for the profit obtained from gas exploitation to be transferred to Pension Pillar 2. The amendment was rejected during the plenary session with only 21 votes in favor and 65 against.
OUG on combating speculative actions was debated by the Government on Wednesday
The Emergency Ordinance on combating speculative actions was included on the agenda of the Government meeting on Wednesday, in a first reading. The draft Ordinance provides for consumers’ protection against unjustified price increases and obvious market malfunctions. The Ordinance also stipulates penalties, ranging from 0.01% to 0.1% of the total turnover obtained in the tax year preceding the sanction, yet no less than RON 5,000. Fines will be set within the interval RON 5,000 – RON 50,000 in the case of public authorities and institutions, and will range from RON 600 to RON 2,500 for individuals.
European News 
EU agencies push back glyphosate assessment to mid-2023
Due to an unprecedented flood of stakeholder input, relevant EU agencies announced their risk assessment on glyphosate will only come in mid-2023, even though the herbicide’s current approval will expire by the end of this year. The EU’s chemicals agency (ECHA) and Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are currently assessing the potential health and environmental risks linked to the controversial substance. As the EU’s current authorization for glyphosate as an active substance in plant protection is set to expire by December, the agencies’ assessment was originally set to come in time to inform the decision for or against renewing the approval. However, EFSA and ECHA announced on Tuesday (10 May) that they had revised the timeline for the assessment and would not finalize the process before July 2023.
Social 
Romania has the highest rate of road fatalities in EU
The number of road fatalities in the European Union decreased by 217% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to data published by the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat) on Wednesday. Compared to the population of each EU member state, the lowest traffic-related death rate in 2020 was reported by Sweden (20 deaths per one million inhabitants), followed by Malta (23), Denmark (27), Spain (29), Ireland and the Netherlands (both with 30), and the highest rate was recorded in Romania (85 deaths per one million inhabitants), followed by Latvia (73), Bulgaria (67) and Poland (66).
Labor Minister Marius Budăi has announced that the retirement age will change for women
Labor Minister Marius Budăi has announced that the retirement age will change for women in Romania. To be more exact, women will be able to retire at the same age as men, namely 65. Women currently retire at 61. The increase in the retirement age will take place gradually, until 2030, Minister Budăi indicated. However, there will be one exception to the rule. The Labor Ministry is considering a law that would allow women who have more children to retire earlier.