News

Daily Newsletter - 13 October 2021

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (4)
Legislative (2)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Two in ten SMEs which were closed at the beginning of pandemic were still closed six months later
Two in ten SMEs in Romania which had suspended their activity at the beginning of the pandemic were still closed six months later, compared to a share of only 13% in the case of large enterprises, according to a study conducted by Mastercard in 19 countries, showing that small businesses are three times more likely to remain closed than larger businesses. At global level, small and medium-sized traders located in office buildings in central areas recorded a 33% decline in sales in 2020 compared to 2019, while sales of merchants in residential areas grew by 8%. Moreover, sales of small businesses in commercial areas decreased amid the dropping number of tourists and the fact that most employees work from home.
Annual inflation rate grew to 6.3% in September
Annual inflation rate grew to 6.3% in September, after food prices increased by 4.26% compared to September 2020, those of non-food products were up 7.52%, and services became 3.41% more expensive, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS). Inflation started rising sharply in July, when it jumped to 5%, from 3.9% in June and then to 5.3% in August. The biggest price increases were recorded in the energy sector, of 24.65% for electricity, 20.55% for gas and 16.77% for fuels compared to September 2020. Significant price increments were also recorded for bread- 5.52%, potatoes - 12%, and oil - 23.84%.
Romania’s primary energy resources grew by 10.1% in the first eight months of 2021
Romania’s primary energy resources grew by 10.1% in the first eight months of the current year, compared to the similar period of 2020, and those of electrical power increased by 8.4%, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Tuesday, 12 October. Final electricity consumption in this period was 37102.3 million kWh, up by 6.2% year-on-year; public lighting recorded a 1.2% decline, and household consumption rose 8.0%. According to the INS, the main primary energy resources in the period January - August 2021 totaled 22.596 million tons of oil equivalent (toe), up by 2.073 million toe compared to the same period of 2020.
Financial 
ING Bank supplements the ceiling allocated to SME Invest program by 35%
ING Bank Romania has granted over RON 1.2 billion loans to entrepreneurs through the SME Invest 2021 program since April, 20% more than in the entire year 2020. Under these circumstances, given that it had nearly used up the funds available, the banking institution had requested the supplementation of the ceiling ever since the summer, having obtained a 35% increase, of RON 400 million respectively, which it can grant until the end of the year, according to the information transmitted by the bank’s representatives. ING Bank joined the second edition of the SME Invest program in April 2021, after having granted over RON 1 billion loans in 2020. ING has received a total of 5,000 applications from entrepreneurs this year.
BT will initiate specific procedures for finalizing the transaction with Getin Holding Group
Banca Transilvania, the biggest bank in Romania asset-wise, is to initiate the specific procedures for finalizing the transaction with Getin Holding Group, after the banking institution received the necessary approvals from the National Bank of Romania and the Competition Council for the acquisition of the entire stake held by the Poles at Idea Bank, as well as the participations held in Idea Leasing IFN SA and Idea Broker de Asigurare’s share capital. The bank’s representatives estimate that the transaction for Idea Bank’s takeover will be finalized at the end of October. Banca Transilvania will subsequently become a full rights shareholder, and Idea Bank will become part of the BT Financial Group.
Banking system recorded a RON 4.2 billion liquidity surplus in September
The banking system recorded a RON 4.2 billion liquidity surplus in September, up from RON 3.9 billion in the previous month, according to BCR analysts. In July, the liquidity surplus stood at RON 5.9 billion, Moreover, NBR’s statistical report for September shows that the central bank did not buy RON-denominated government securities from the secondary market in the previous month. September was thus the fifth consecutive month without acquisitions after the RON 247.4 million total purchases made in March and April. The stock of RON-denominated government securities bought by NBR from the secondary market amounts to RON 5.52 billion, representing about 0.5% of the GDP.
Investment 
Affidea Romania announces the launch of Affidea I Hiperdia medical center in Cluj
Affidea Romania, the local subsidiary of the European leader of diagnostic imaging, outpatient treatments, nuclear medicine and cancer treatment services, has announced the launch of the Affidea I Hiperdia medical center in Cluj, following a EUR 2.7 million total investment. Affidea has chosen to diversify its range of services on the medical imaging and laboratory medicine segment in this new unit. As a result, the unit is the first center operated by the company in Cluj which offers medical examination services as well, covering a total of 14 specialties including cardiology, general surgery, oncology, neurology, orthopedics and ENT.
Sandoz has finalized the acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s cephalosporins segment
Sandoz, the world’s second biggest antibiotics producer, has announced that it has finalized the acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s cephalosporins segment. The transaction, which included the global brand Zinnat, consolidates Sandoz’s current leading position on the generic penicillin segment with a leading position on the cephalosporins segment as well. According to its integrated manufacturing strategy, Sandoz intends to produce Zinnat in the units part of its own network on a long term. Its main global antibiotics production unit is located in Kundl, Austria. In May, Sandoz had announced that it planned to invest more than EUR 150 million into its integrated European antibiotics network.
Four main streets in the city of Galaţi will benefit from a modern public lighting system
Four main streets in the city of Galaţi will benefit from a modern public lighting system, following an over RON 1.5 million investment. The announcement was made by Galaţi City Hall, which indicated that the contract for the modernization of the public lighting system on the four main streets of the city had been launched in the electronic public procurement system. Energy consumption will be reduced by 70% following this modernization process. The main categories of intervention works will target the acquisition of LED street lighting fixtures, the dismantling of existing luminaires and the installation of luminaires on existing poles and consoles, as well as the installation of consoles for poles that are not currently equipped with luminaires.
German retailer Lidl has reached a network of over 300 stores in Romania
German retailer Lidl announced on Monday that it had reached a network of over 300 stores in Romania and about 10,000 employees at national level. The company works with over 400 suppliers of products from Romania, and has facilitated over EUR 164 million exports for Romanian suppliers’ products onto the European markets in the past five years. In all its ten years of activity, Lidl Romania has stood out through investment both in economy and in the society: from supporting Romanian producers, to over RON 106.5 million investments in programs developed together with the civil society.
Legislative 
Draft normative act on mandatory anti-Covid-19 vaccination will be promoted on Wednesday
Interim Health Minister Cseke Attila has announced that the draft normative act on mandatory anti-Covid-19 vaccination for certain professional categories will be promoted as a parliamentary initiative on Wednesday, 13 October. The draft has been announced by several officials, including by the dismissed Prime Minister, Florin Cîțu. The latter indicated that the normative act targeted mandatory vaccination and the obligation of those who refused to get vaccinated to pay for getting tested, but he had some reservations related to the draft law, such as those referring to the sanctions that could be applied against persons who refuse the immunization.
USR has submitted a new draft law
On Tuesday, 12 October, USR deputies Cristina Prună and Claudiu Năsui submitted a draft law proposing five short-term measures aimed at reducing household consumers and SMEs’ utility bills. Save Romania Union (USR) has called on all parliamentary parties to support and adopt the legislative initiative as soon as possible, so that the measures can rapidly enter into force. USR’s draft law proposes a liberal solution to the problem of growing electricity and natural gas prices and, compared to the price capping option, it does not distort the market, does not create legislative unpredictability and does not discourage investments in gas exploitation in Romania, according to former Economy Minister Claudiu Năsui.
European News 
EU rejected commitment to a tight timeline for an agreement on two key pieces of digital legislation
A majority of EU countries have succeeded in rejecting the commitment to a tight timeline for an agreement on two key pieces of digital legislation that would have served well the French government ahead of the presidential elections there in April 2022. Leaders of EU-27 are due to meet on 21 and 22 October for the European Council in Brussels. While the ongoing energy crunch is set to take the centre stage, digital policies also remain on top of the leaders’ agenda.
Social 
Every RON 1 the Romanian state invests in a full education cycle generates RON 8 budget revenues
Every RON 1 the Romanian state invests in a full education cycle (from preschool to postgraduate level) generates RON 8 in the form of budget revenues from taxes, charges and contributions, according to the study "The cost of education: investment, return, impact", conducted by Deloitte Romania and commissioned by the World Vision Romania Foundation, according to a press release sent to the editorial office. The study was launched on Tuesday, 12 October, during an extensive conference on financing in education, organized by World Vision Romania in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research and with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.
The average net wage in Romania decreased by RON 58 in August
The average gross nominal wage was RON 5,688 in August 2021, RON 92 (-1.6%) lower than in July 2021, and the average net nominal wage stood at RON 3,487, down by RON 58 (-1.6%) against the previous month, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The highest average net nominal wage was recorded in information technology service activities (including information service activities) – RON 8,377, and the lowest one was recorded in the clothing manufacturing sector (RON 1,957).