Daily Newsletter - 17 May 2022


FIC (1)
Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (4)
Investment (4)
Legislative (2)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Foreign Investors Council published the FIC Business Sentiment Index, spring edition

The Foreign Investors Council published the Business Sentiment Index (BSI) results for the latest edition, spring 2022. The survey shows that there is a moderate optimism among investors, however it is impacted by uncertainty and current challenges such as: energy market crisis, military conflict in Ukraine, inflationary pressures affecting supply chains and customer demand, including the erosion of end-user disposable income, which possible effects were highlighted in the May edition of the Inflation Report published by the National Bank of Romania (NBR). Companies want to invest in Romania, half of the respondents estimate that for this year the planned investments are at similar levels to last year, and 40% of respondents say they plan to invest larger amounts compared to the previous period. have plans to expand their workforce and 37% keep these plans for the next 12 months at levels similar to last year. The sentiment remains that there is a need for labor, but unfortunately the perception of the availability of adequate staff remains reserved, only 45% of respondents believe that labor force is competitive. Reforms are still needed in key areas such as infrastructure, transparency, and coherence in the application of public policies, reducing bureaucracy and the burden of regulations.

European Commission has reduced its economic growth forecast for Romania to 2.6% in 2022
Romania’s economic growth is expected to slow down to 2.6% in 2022, following a 5.9% advance in the previous year, according to the European Commission’s (EC) Spring 2022 Economic Forecasts for EU member states. For 2023, EC officials expect Romania’s GDP to grow by 3.6%. As a comparison, in February, before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the European Commission had forecast 4.2% economic growth for Romania at the end of this year and a 4.5% advance in 2023.
Prime Minister chaired the meeting of PNRR Monitoring Committee
The Government has announced that Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă chaired the meeting of the Committee in charge of Monitoring Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, held at Victoria Palace, on Monday. The situation of calls for competitive projects necessary for the investments planned and approved under PNRR was analyzed on this occasion. Through its activity so far, the Government has proven that it has met its objectives for each stage of PNRR and will continue to do so, the Prime Minister pointed out, according to press release issued by the Executive.
Inflation continues to be influenced by energy prices
PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu stated on Monday that inflation continued to be influenced by energy prices, pointing out that companies had not yet managed to close the compensations chapter. He indicated that a decrease in inflation depended "on the steps the Energy Ministry will take in the following period". Marcel Ciolacu also said that the representatives of the ruling coalition were looking for new solutions to support the low-income population.
Bernd Spalt, appointed CEO of Erste in 2020, does not want to extend his mandate
Bernd Spalt, CEO of Erste Group, which also owns BCR, has announced, one year before the end of his term that he will not extend his contract which will end on 30 June 2023. His decision is based on a number of differences of opinion over the financial group’s long-term strategy. The Supervisory Board will start looking for a successor after the general meeting on 18 May 2022.
ING Bank Romania to start transition of its cards portfolio to alternative made of recycled plastic
ING Bank Romania has announced that the transition of its cards portfolio to a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative, made of recycled plastic, will start in September. Following this process, the bank will reduce the carbon footprint of newly issued cards by 75% and the energy required to produce them by 54%. The transition process will take place in stages and will only target newly issued cards in order to avoid wasting the existing stock and to allow the end of the lifecycle of those in clients’ possession that are still valid, ING officials said on Monday.
Patria Bank ended Q1 of 2022 with an almost double net profit
Patria Bank ended the first quarter of 2022 with an almost double net profit compared to the same period of last year, of RON 453,000, following a 50% reduction of risk provisions. On the other hand, the bank’s operating result decreased, amid a faster increase in expenses compared to revenues. The bank plans to issue new bonds. Its net banking income remained relatively unchanged, at RON 41.6 million, amid a 17% increase in net interest income, to RON 29.8 million, a 6% advance of net revenues from fees, to RON 7 million, and a drop in other types of income by almost half, to RON 4.8 million, the bank’s report published on the Stock Exchange indicates.
Asirom VIG obtained RON 828 million revenues from gross underwritten premiums in 2021
Asirom VIG obtained RON 828 million revenues from gross underwritten premiums in 2021, up by 30.7% year-on-year. General insurance accounted for 84% of the underwritten premiums, i.e. RON 695.3 million, while life insurance policies amounted to RON 99.7 million. The result corresponding to underwritten premiums for 2021 significantly exceeded the level estimated last spring, when the company had announced that revenues would get close to RON 700 million. The mandatory civil car liability insurance (RCA) segment ranked first in terms of underwritten premiums, having generated RON 290.36 million revenues, up from RON 161.22 million in 2020.
De’Longhi has bought a plant in Satu Mare
Italian electrical household appliances manufacturer De’Longhi has bought a plant in Satu Mare where it will develop a new factory to manufacture coffee espresso machines. The company owns two other local production units, in Jucu in Cluj and Salonta in Bihor. De’Longhi will invest about EUR 28 million for the development of the new factory. Half of this sum will come from state aid, according to official data. 375 people will be employed for this project.
Subway to open two more new units in Romania
Subway, the restaurants chain present on the local market since the spring of 2012, is to open two new units in Romania. One of the restaurants will be opened in the Aurora Shopping Mall in Buzau and the other one in the Petrom petrol station in Afumați, Bucharest. The restaurant in Afumați is the latest investment of businessman Cristian Dumitru, who now operates 13 Subway restaurants.
Accenture has inaugurated a new headquarters in Cluj for employees of the Industry X division
Accenture has inaugurated a new headquarters in Cluj for the employees of the Industry X division, which includes a massage room and a games room. The Industry X division is in charge of developing industrial software in areas such as railways, automotive and manufacturing. The investment in the new headquarters amounts to about USD 1.5 million. The company officials have indicated that the building complies with Accenture’s core principles of trust, transparency, a welcoming environment and comfort, and low environmental impact.
Misavan has finalized the last stage of its logistics warehouse
Misavan, a manufacturer and distributor of professional cleaning and disinfection products from Iasi, has finalized the last stage of its logistics warehouse in Miroslava Industrial Park, Iaşi County, which involved the construction of offices and the relocation of the company’s headquarters from Voinești (Iaşi), according to a press release. The total investment in the logistics warehouse amounted to EUR 7 million, including its construction, technological equipping and stocks of goods. The logistics warehouse project was necessary as Misavan aims, as a priority strategy, to serve its customers as efficiently as possible, to meet their needs and, of course, to manage delivery times as well as possible, given the fact that logistic chains have been affected in the past two years.
Government is working on a draft law regarding student loans
Family Minister Gabriela Firea announced on Monday that the Government was preparing a draft law on the provision of loans for students up to a maximum of EUR 10,000 and for young people, up to EUR 15,000. The Family Minister also said that a meeting with the Romanian Guarantee and Counter-Guarantee Fund would take place at the Ministry of Finance to establish the financial criteria, the period of grace and the interest rate.
USR MPs Silvia Dinică, Iulian Lorincz and Radu Mihail have filed a legislative initiative
Save Romania Union (USR) MPs Silvia Dinică, Iulian Lorincz and Radu Mihail have filed a legislative initiative meant to help people exploited by human traffickers. The legislative initiative amends the current law so that victims who were forced into sex work should no longer be penalized. Victims whose documents have been confiscated by traffickers will thus be able to immediately access the assistance services and other forms of support and protection they need. The proposal also provides for these documents to be issued within an emergency regime – in 3 days - and for the listed address to be a lawyer’s address, a registered office or a post box.
European News 
Romania backs quick NATO accession process for Finland and Sweden
Romania is "strongly" in favor of a "rapid" accession process for both Finland and Sweden, as the membership of these two states will strengthen NATO, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Sunday. In a statement, he spoke of Romania’s strong support for the "Open Doors" policy which he said brings many benefits to the Alliance. Furthermore, he noted how important the accession process to NATO was for reform in the country.
Florin Cîțu does not agree with a possible repositioning of the tax system
Former Prime Minister Florin Cîțu has stated that he does not agree with a possible repositioning of the tax system. He has also criticized the Government for borrowing at high interest rates instead of implementing reforms to benefit from the money from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). These statements have been made considering that the leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marcel Ciolacu announced a resizing of taxes, while advocating for the introduction of progressive taxation.
Administration of the fourth dose of the anti-COVID vaccine started on Monday
The administration of the fourth dose of the anti-COVID vaccine started on Monday, 16 May, Secretary of State Andrei Baciu announced in a post on Facebook. Those interested can go to vaccination centers or to family doctors. For those who fear that the process might be difficult due to the closing of some of the centers, Andrei Baciu said there were over 100 centers open across the country.