Daily Newsletter - 2 March 2020


Macroeconomic News (3)

Coronavirus could push world GDP down 1.3%

The economic tensions generated by the spread of the coronavirus epidemic could have an impact of up to 1.3% on world GDP this year, according to economist Andrei Radulescu, Banca Transilvania. In Romania, the epidemic could lead to a drop in the foreign deficits, amid the population's reorientation towards domestically produced goods. However, investment flows in the real economy should continue, supported by the low level of real financing costs, improving public investments, and high development potential.


Number of building permits up

The number of permits for residential buildings issued in January amounted to 2,405, an increase of 18.6%, compared to the corresponding month of 2019, according to data published by the National Statistics Institute (INS) on Friday. Out of the total number of authorizations, 70.2% went to rural areas.


Where is the austerity?

The revenues of the consolidated general budget increased by 6.8% in January, only half of the growth rate reported for the corresponding month of 2019. However, the upward pace of expenses was only 11.6%, compared to an increase of 23% in January, 2019. Based on the January data, 2020 is unlikely to be an austerity year, although the budget aims for a reduction of the deficit from 4.46% to 3.6%.


Financial News (4)

Banca Transilvania posts RON 1.62 billion in 2019 earnings

Banca Transilvania, leader of the financial asset index in Romania, posted RON 1.62 billion in earnings for 2019, the highest figure in four years. "Banca Transilvania saw positive results in 2019, another year during which the bank made a strong contribution to the economy through the 223,000 loans granted to companies and individuals. Companies received more than RON 10.5 billion in financing, as BT supported their development, along with economic growth and job creation in manufacturing, trade, IT, healthcare, agriculture and construction."


Patria Bank earnings up

Patria Bank logged RON 5.3 million in earnings for last year, compared to a loss of RON 267,000 in 2018, while the net banking revenues jumped 4%, to RON 166.5 million, up from RON 160 million in the previous year, according to the preliminary results reported to the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB).


Cards passed 18.2 million last year

The total number of cards issued in Romania was of 18.2 million at the end of the last quarter of 2019, up 1.4% compared to the end of the previous quarter, according to data centralized by the National Bank of Romania (BNR). Of the approximately 18.2 million cards, around 14.2 million cards (78.16%) were active, compared to 14 million, at the end of September 2019.


BCR logs RON 593.2 million in earnings

BCR, part of the Erste Group, logged RON 593.2 million in earnings for 2019, down 50% from the RON 1.2 billion reported for the previous year. The drop is the result of BNR's instructions to set up an exceptional provision in connection with BCR Banca pentru Locuinte. The bank's operating profits jumped 9.3%, reaching a new five-year high, while the net revenues from interest reached RON 2.25 billion, up 10.2% year-on-year.


Investment News (1)

PMB put three contracts for auction

The Bucharest City Hall (PMB) has three contracts up for auction. The Municipal Administration for Earthquake Risk Building Consolidation (AMCCRS) is handling the RON 19.4 million worth of contracts focusing on the consolidation of three buildings located in the Blanari, Matasari and Lipscani streets.


Politics (2)

Tariceanu floats local election delay

Calin Popescu Tariceanu, leader of ALDE, has floated the idea of postponing the local election until the coronavirus crisis is over. Tariceanu described the year as a gesture of responsibility.


Voiculescu: PNL has managed to destabilize USR PLUS

Vlad Voiculescu, leader of the Bucharest organization of PLUS, said the National Liberal Party's (PNL) decision to support Nicusor Dan in the city's mayoral race has destabilized the USR-PLUS alliance. However, Voiculescu is confident the two parties will cope with the situation.


Social (1)

INACO: Almost 5% of the population of Romania, affected by hunger

About 5% of the country's population faces hunger, although the number has been steadily falling, according to studies conducted by non-governmental organization INACO. The impact of hunger has been reduced over the last 20 years, from 8.3% to less than 5% of the population, but it would take another three decades to eradicate the phenomenon in Romania at the current pace.