Daily Newsletter - 14 May 2019


Macroeconomic News (3)

Energy imports up more than 78% in Q1

The primary energy resources dropped by 1.9% in the first quarter of the year, while electricity resources fell 7.8% from the corresponding period of 2018. Meanwhile, electricity imports surged 78.5%, according to the National Statistics Institute (INS). Domestic production amounted to 5,167,000 tons of oil equivalent, down 184,000 tons of oil equivalent on the year.


MFP borrowed RON 424 million

The Ministry of Finance (MFP) borrowed RON 424 million from the commercial banks yesterday through an issue of benchmark bonds featuring a residual maturity of 61 months and an average yield of 4.46% per year, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR). The issue was worth a total of RON 500 million.


Inflation rate kept rising in April

The annual inflation rate, which tracks the evolution of consumer prices in the last year, rose to 4.11% in April, after reaching 4.03% in March. The price of potatoes increased by 32.33% in the last four months alone, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute (INS) on Monday. In March, the annual inflation rate climbed to 4.03%, after rising to 3.83% in February and 3.32% in January.


Financial News (5)

CEC Bank does well at people's expense

For at least 12 years, CEC Bank has not paid dividends to the Ministry of Finance (according to the bank's 2017 financial report). Only EUR 122 million were used by the bank to increase its own share capital (profits from 2007-2015). The total value of profits on which CEC paid no dividends and did not add to its share capital amounted to about EUR 156 million (2015-2018).


Dragnea wants "Prima Casa" overhaul

Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), announced that the ruling coalition wants to overhaul the "Prima Casa" program. According to Dragnea, the program's rules will be changed to exclude adjustable interest loans, while also making loans more accessible to young people.


Radu Ghetea leaves CEC Bank after 12 years

Radu Ghetea has stepped down as chairman of the board at CEC Bank and was replaced by Valentin Mavrodin. Ghetea has 40 years of banking experience, 12 of which he spent running CEC Bank as both CEO and chairman. The state, which controls CEC Bank, decided to separate the two positions in 2018.


BNR facing increased pressure from inflation

The April inflation recovery puts fresh strain on the monetary policy of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) two days before the board of directors' monetary policy meeting. While analysts have so far expected BNR to maintain the monetary policy rate in 2019 at the current level, the possibility of raising of an increase before the end of the year can no longer be ruled out. "We think the chances for at least one increase (of the BNR key rate) have increased considerably," Erste Group Reserch (EGR) writes in the note issued following the April inflation announcement from the INS.


OTP Bank Romania reports 18% drop in earnings

OTP Bank Romania, the local subsidiary of the Hungarian group of the same name, posted RON 18 million in earnings for the first quarter of this year, down 18% on an annual basis. The aggregated revenues derived from local operations reached RON 128 million, up 29% year-on-year. The group expects to pay up to RON 30 million under the new asset tax.


Investment News (1)

Ministry of Tourism inks financing deal for Borsec adventure park

Tourism Minister Bogdan Trif signed the financing contract for an adventure park in the town of Borsec, Harghita county, worth RON 5.08 million (EUR 1.07 million). The Ministry of Tourism will contribute 90% of the base investment.


Legislative News (1)

EC threatens use of nuclear option

Frans Timmermans, President of the European Commission, has sent an official letter to Romanian authorities warning that Article 7 could be triggered if the recent changes to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code came into force. The letter is dated May 10 and was sent to President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, President of the Senate Calin Popescu Tariceanu and President of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea.


Politics (2)

Conflict brews between PM, party leader

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has been disagreeing with Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), on a number of very sensitive issues, such as the Cabinet reshuffling and the judiciary referendum quorum. Dancila and Dragnea take opposite views on important political issues.


PNL launches political program

Ludovic Orban, leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), presented the party's political platform on Monday. According to Orban, PNL pledged to take the country into the Schengen space and the eurozone in the following years, while also putting an end to the CVM.


Social (2)

Ministry of Environment offers RON 500 vouchers for TV sets

Romanians can apply for vouchers worth up to RON 500 for buying TV sets belonging to the A+ energy efficiency category under the national program for replacing aging electrical and electronic equipment, according to the guidelines published by the Ministry of Environment.


New education system

According to the reform drafted by Minister Ecaterina Andronescu, Romanians will have to spend 15 years in the education system, three of them being pre-school education and the other 12 being pre-college education. The bill has already been passed by Parliament, without being accompanied by an impact study or a list of goals being pursued, with firm indicators. Thus, it is difficult to assess whether this ambitious program is realistic or not.