News

Daily Newsletter - 2 September 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (4)
Investment (4)
Legislative (3)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Since the fall of communism, Romania’s GDP has increased sevenfold in 32 years
Since the fall of communism, Romania’s GDP has increased sevenfold in 32 years, from EUR 36 billion (equivalent in current prices, as the euro did not exist at the time) in 1990 to a GDP of EUR 240 billion in 2021. However, while Romania had a population of 23 million people in 1990, there are only 19 million inhabitants left in 2022, and 4 million Romanians live in Italy, Spain, Germany or Great Britain.
NBR’s foreign exchange reserves grew by EUR 83 million in August compared to July
The National Bank of Romania (NBR)’s foreign exchange reserves grew by EUR 83 million in August compared to July 2022, to EUR 42.8 billion, following EUR 2.87 billion inflows and EUR 2.79 billion outflows during the month. The EUR 2.87 billion inflows represented changes in credit institutions’ foreign currency-denominated required reserves with the NBR, inflows into the Ministry of Finance’s accounts, inflows into the European Commission’s account and others, according to data published by NBR on Thursday, 1 September.
Unemployment rate decreased by 0.2% in July 2022 compared to the previous month
Unemployment rate decreased by 0.2% in July 2022, to 5.2%, compared to 5.4% in June 2022, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Thursday, 1 September. The number of unemployed (aged 15-74) estimated for July 2022 was 432,700, down from both the previous month (449,000) and July 2021 (436,100). Gender-wise, unemployment rate among men was 1.5% higher than the one among women (the respective values were 5.8% for men and 4.3% for women).
Financial 
BCR offers, through George platform, a Safe Travel insurance policy underwritten by Omniasig
BCR continues to develop the George platform by introducing a Safe Travel insurance policy concluded with Omniasig, which clients can purchase from the platform directly and which can be issued in about 7 minutes for one or several persons, according to the information provided by the bank. Safe Travel is a complex travel insurance policy and can contracted for traveling both in Romania and abroad in Europe and/or to non-EU countries.
BCR has implemented a contactless payment solution for car parks at Henri Coandă Airport
Banca Comercială Română (BCR) has announced that it has finalized the implementation of the smart payment system for car parks at the terminals of Henri Coandă International Airport in Otopeni, which allows travelers to pay for parking at the airport directly at the barrier, by simply bringing the contactless bank card or any smart device that allows payments via the NFC technology close to the payment unit. Travelers can also pay for parking in cash at the automated payment machines available at the airport.
Patria Bank recorded RON 10 million profit in H1 of 2022, up by 67%
Patria Bank (stock exchange symbol PBK), a credit institution owned by the Emerging Europe Accession Fund (EEAF) investment fund, recorded a RON 10.1 million profit in H1 of 2022, up by 67% year-on-year, a result boosted by the evolution of operating income from interest and fees. Moreover, the institution has reported a RON 93.1 million net banking income for H1/2022, up by 8% year-on-year.
Omnisig recorded a significant increase in gross underwritten premiums in H1/2022
Omnisig Vienna Insurance Group recorded a significant advance on the Romanian market in the first six months of 2022, with an approximately 45% increase in gross underwritten premiums compared to the first half of the previous year, and having exceeded the RON 1 billion threshold in this period. The total value of compensations paid by the company in H1/2022 amounted to about RON 550 million.
Investment 
Chimcomplex has a RON 591 million investments budget for 2022
Chimcomplex (CRC), the largest chemical plant in Romania, with industrial platforms in Onești and Râmnicu Vâlcea, plans to implement several investment projects targeting the company’s "green" transformation. The company’s total investment budget for the entire year 2022 is RON 590.6 million, according to the information provided for the 2022 edition of Ziarul Financiar’s "Biggest players in economy" yearbook.
Developer Prime Kapital and MAS announce EUR 2 billion investments on local real estate market
Prime Kapital, a real estate developer and investor operating in Central and Eastern Europe, together with its partner MAS PLC, a real estate investor listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, have announced EUR 1.97 billion investments in retail, office and residential projects with a total area of 1.5 million square meters in several cities in Romania, by 2029. Prime Kapital and MAS PLC entered into a partnership six years ago. The two institutions have been mainly investing in retail assets, residential projects and, depending on opportunities, in other real estate sectors.
AFI Europe has started construction works on its first retail park in Romania
AFI Europe representatives together with Arad City Hall have started construction works on the first retail park to be built in the city center. AFI Arad will be the first retail park developed by AFI Europe in Romania. The future retail park will have a built-up area of 30,600 square meters on a plot of land with a total perimeter of 79,900 square meters. The project’s gross leasable area (GLA) is 29,400 square meters, on one level, served by 950 underground parking spaces. The project’s current occupancy rate is 70%.
Cora Drobeta Gallery has become Supernova Drobeta
Cora Drobeta Gallery has become Supernova Drobeta as of 1 September 2022. The Austrian group bearing the same name has invested EUR 1 million in renovating and modernizing the shopping center in Drobeta Turnu Severin. Supernova Drobeta is the first project in the portfolio of six shopping centers acquired by the Austrian group from the Louis Delhaize and Galimmo Groups at the end of last year. The successful finalization of the former Cora Gallery’s rebranding and modernization process confirms Supernova’s position on the Romania market and underlines the Group’s commitment to the works also planned to be started and completed in the shopping centers in Bacău, Constanţa and Bucharest (Lujerului, Alexandriei and Pantelimon).
Legislative 
Law on the protection of whistleblowers acting in the public interest has been adopted
On Thursday, 1 September, the Senate adopted the law on the protection of whistleblowers acting in the public interest, re-analyzed following President Klaus Iohannis’s request. There were 76 votes in favor, eight votes against and three abstentions. The law had been initiated by the Government, adopted by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, verified by the Constitutional Court of Romania and sent back to Parliament for re-analysis following the President’s request. The normative act establishes the general framework for the protection of persons reporting violations of laws in force that have occurred or are likely to occur within authorities, public institutions, other legal entities governed by public law, as well as within legal entities governed by private law.
Parliament has approved Chamber of Deputies and Senate’s Special Joint Committee for justice laws
During a joint sitting on Thursday, 1 September, Parliament approved the setting up of a Special Joint Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate to analyze legislative initiatives in the judicial sector, with 273 votes in favor, 48 votes against and 2 abstentions. The aforementioned Joint Special Parliamentary Committee is to analyze, both within the legislative procedure in the first notified Chamber and within the legislative procedure in the decision-making Chamber, legislative initiatives with an impact on the judiciary with a view to reforming the judicial system, which are currently in parliamentary procedure, as well as those that are about to enter parliamentary procedure, throughout the entire period of the Committee’s activity.
Currency exchange at ATMs by foreign exchange companies managing touristy units was banned
On Wednesday, 31 August, the Government approved a decision which bans foreign exchange companies and entities managing tourist accommodation structures from carrying out currency exchange activities through automated machines, among other things. The decision also establishes that the documents based on which the foreign exchange activity for individuals and the cashing of traveler’s cheques on Romania’s territory can be organized and carried out are the authorization and the statistical code assignment letter, documents with limited validity in time.
European News 
EU urged to align corporate climate reporting rules with global standards
The European Union should align its policies with international corporate climate reporting rules in order to simplify life for companies and save time in the long run, a global standard setting board said on Wednesday (31 August). That could mean extending slightly a November deadline to complete drafts as the EU draws up the text on mandatory disclosures for 50,000 companies in the bloc to report how climate change affects their business.
Social 
Young women in EU countries leave the parental home earlier than young men
In all the European Union countries, young women tend to leave the parental home earlier than young men. However, the largest gender gap in the average age of leaving the parental home was recorded in Romania in 2021, according to data published by Eurostat on Thursday, 1 September. At EU level, in 2021, young men left on average their parental household at the age of 27.4 years, while young women did it at the age of 25.5 years.
32.3% of COVID-19 cases on 22-28 August were in Bucharest, Cluj, Timiş, Iaşi and Constanţa
The National Institute of Public Health (INSP) reports that 32.3% of COVID-19 cases registered during the week 22-28 August were in Bucharest, Cluj, Timiş, Iaşi and Constanţa. According to the Weekly Surveillance Report, 49.2% of confirmed cases were recorded in unvaccinated people. Of those vaccinated who became ill, 51.5% had just got vaccinated or had more than six months after the latest dose. The INSP states that 34.4% of all deaths were recorded in Mureş, Iaşi, Bucharest, Teleorman and Vaslui.