News

Daily Newsletter - 12 October 2021

Summary

Macroeconomic (2)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (1)
European News (1)
Social (3)
Macroeconomic 
Romania recorded a EUR 14.6 billion trade deficit during the period January – August 2021
Romania recorded a EUR 14.6 billion trade deficit during the period January – August 2021, EUR 3 billion higher than the level reported for the similar period of 2020, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Monday. During the aforementioned interval, exports of goods grew by 24.4% compared to January-August 2020, to EUR 48.1 billion, while imports increased by 24.9%, to EUR 62.7 billion. In August, goods exports were up 23.3% year-on-year, to EUR 5.67 billion, and imports rose 21.1%, to EUR 7.4 billion, thus leading to a EUR 1.72 billion deficit.
INS has revised upwards the GDP growth estimate for H1/2021
Romania’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 7% in H1/2021 year-on-year, after having recorded a 0.2% decrease in Q1 and a 13.9% advance in Q2, according to updated data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS). INS has revised upwards the half-year increase, from 6.5% as announced in September, and has also modified data for Q2, where the advance has been modified from 13% to 13.9%. Economy grew by 6.6% in H1 and by 14.4% in Q2 as a seasonally adjusted series, compared to the same period of last year.
Financial 
IRCC index decreased to 1.08% for loans contracted in Q2 of 2021
The IRCC index, used by banks to calculate interest rates on new loans contracted after the spring of 2019, has decreased to 1.08% for loans contracted in Q2/2021, from 1.25%, the level used for loans taken in January-March, much below the level of the three-month ROBOR index used for loans contracted before May 2019. The ROBOR index has risen sharply in the past few weeks, having reached 2.11% on Monday, 11 October, from 2.10% on Friday, 8 October.
TBI Bank has entered into a partnership with the Gomag e-commerce platform
TBI Bank, the fastest growing phygital lender in South-East Europe, has entered into a partnership with the Gomag e-commerce platform to offer an integrated digital solution for offline and online retailers. Through this partnership, all traders, regardless of whether they sell electronic products, fashion, furniture, household products, services or sports items, can consolidate their online presence, through their own websites to support growing sales, with the help of the eCommerce platform offered by Gomag. Moreover, Gomag’s business clients, together with all the traders who will open online stores in the future through the e-commerce platform, will benefit from TBIPay’s innovative solution.
BRD clients can contract consumer loans 100% online
In line with its digital transformation strategy, BRD has launched two fully online flows for individual clients - the first one, related to business relationship initiation by opening a remote onboarding package, and the second one, for the provision of consumer loans. Before the launch of these 100% online flows, new clients could only enter into a relationship with the bank and contract a package of products and services, and existing clients could only contract consumer loans by personally coming to one of BRD unit.
Investment 
Microsoft has acquired the US start-up Ally
Microsoft has acquired the US start-up Ally, which develops software for measuring progress against objectives and key results. The value of the transaction has not been announced, but Ally has raised USD 76 million investments so far, according to GeekWire. Microsoft could use the purchased technology to improve its employee experience platform, Viva.
Electronics-IT retailer Altex bought a hectare of land in the corporate area of Pipera
Electronics-IT retailer Altex, controlled by businessman Dan Ostahie and one of the biggest players on the relevant market, bought a hectare of land in the corporate area of Pipera, across the street from its headquarters, where it plans to build the largest shopping center of the network. The land, located between the former Gelcap Voluntari medicines plant and eMAG headquarters, was put up for sale by Eurobank several years ago. The land’s most recent selling price, displayed on specialized websites, was EUR 3.9 million. The entire investment, which includes the cost of land, of the construction and of the store’s stocks, will exceed EUR 6 million.
EUR 105 million will be available for the modernization of agricultural infrastructure
Nearly EUR 105 million European funds will be available through the National Rural Development Program (PNDR) 2014-2020 for investments in the development, modernization or adaptation of agricultural and forestry infrastructure - agricultural access infrastructure component. Projects can be submitted during the period 28 October 2021 – 27 January 2022. According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the projects session is part of Measure 4 - Investments in physical assets, sub-measure 4.3 respectively.
Legislative 
Measure 1 - "Micro-grants from non-refundable EU financing" will be re-launched on 25 October
The Ministry of Economy has announced that Measure 1 "Micro-grants from non-refundable European financing" within the state aid scheme established through Government Emergency Ordinance (OUG) no. 130 of 31 July 2020 regarding certain measures for the provision of financial support from non-reimbursable external funds will be re-launched on 25 October. The procedure for implementing Measure 1, which is the applicant’s guide, is currently at the Ministry of Investments for obtaining the final endorsement prior to its approval and publishing in the Official Gazette of Romania. It was conceived in accordance with the legislative provisions in force, namely OUG 130/2020 subsequently completed and amended, as well as based on the proposals and suggestions submitted by the business sector while it had been put up for public debate.
European News 
Romania is going through a political crisis
Romania has an interim government and an awful situation in its hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there seems to be no quick fix for the political crisis. President Klaus Iohannis called political parties for consultations on Monday, 11 October, after the government lost a confidence vote in Parliament last Tuesday. PNL, the governing party, initially proposed incumbent Florin Citu to form a new government but later announced it would not submit a name in the first talks with the president. Iohannis supported Citu to take over the presidency of PNL and would still like to have him as prime minister, but getting support for a dismissed prime minister could prove tough.
Social 
Education Minister stated the decision to switch to online classes belonged to schools’ management
The dismissed Education Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu stated on Monday, 11 October, that the decision to switch to online classes belonged to each school’s management. There are two basic rules regarding Covid-19 infection cases; however, beyond those rules, schools can request the suspension of physical attendance, Sorin Cîmpeanu pointed out. The switch to online classes can thus be requested based on Article 3, paragraph 2 and sent to the County School Inspectorate.
Private companies in Romania estimate an 8.1% average increase in basic salaries in 2022
Private companies in Romania estimate an 8.1% average increase in basic salaries in 2022, after an average increment of 8.9% this year, according to the PayWell 2021 study conducted by PwC Romania. The study also indicates that the salary increase reported for 2021 is almost twice as high as the one anticipated by company managers, of 4.68%, in the Paywell study conducted in 2020, in a period of economic uncertainty.
Romania asks for international help for the acquisition of Tocilizumab and oxygen concentrators
The National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU) decided on Monday, 11 October, to ask for international help for the acquisition of the medicine called Tocilizumab and of 10-liter oxygen concentrators. Stocks were refilled through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, but such medicines and equipment are still necessary. The decision was made taking into account the situation of global stocks of immunomodulator Tocilizumab, as well as the insufficient number of oxygen concentrators existing in healthcare units that are needed to ensure oxygen supply for patients with severe and critical forms of COVID-19.