Daily Newsletter - 23 March 2020


Macroeconomic News (3)

Major employers facing COVID-19 crisis

The public health measures imposed by the authorities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as the sharp drop in industry orders, have already sent thousands of employees into technical unemployment. Thousands more are at home on leave, especially HoReCa workers. While industrial units shut down, retailers cut their working hours and took steps to reduce their employees' exposure.


Ministry of Agriculture issues assurances

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) announced that the activity of vegetable farmers, livestock farmers, beekeepers, and food industry companies and workers should continue as regulated by the Military Decree issued by the Minister of Internal Affairs regarding the measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The ministry has given assurances that it would make every effort to ensure that farming operations are carried out under the best conditions during this period.


Romania asks for EBRD help with development strategy

Virgil Popescu, the Minister of Economy, and Florin Citu, the Minister of Finance, have asked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help draft a development strategy for the post crisis period. "We're also thinking about what will be after this crisis passes, because I am optimistic about overcoming the coronavirus and this crisis together and we need to know what we are doing after the coronavirus, because, in my opinion, the economy will probably have to be restarted, reset and adapted to the new requirements. Now we are starting to work a lot from home, to use communications and we will probably have to adapt a lot in the communications area, to have very good, very solid communications," said Popescu.


Financial News (4)

BR extends period of grace

Banca Romaneasca announced that it would extend until May 15 the period of grace for credit card debts accumulated in March and April, because of the ongoing epidemic. Clients have until April 30 to pay their February installments on MasterCard Standard and MasterCard Gold products.


Emergency meeting at BNR

The National Bank of Romania (BNR) adopted a series of measures that analysts did not expect to see passed in such a short time. The key rate was cut and the banking system will receive liquidity from BNR. Another channel for increasing money in the market is the issue of currency through the acquisition of government securities. Quantitative easing is a first for BNR. The financing costs are expected to be reduced, but the pressure on the RON will increase under the new conditions.


MFP to waive penalties on arrears

The Ministry of Finance (MFP) announced that all taxes and duties due, but not paid will not be declared arrears until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency, thus waiving late charges and interest, according to a press release issued on Saturday.


Raiffeisen Bank waives POS, e-commerce fees

Raiffeisen Bank has decided to waive the fees for card payments processed by retailers and public institutions, both through POS devices and the internet, between March 17 and April 30.


Legislative News (1)

Food voucher value allowed to increase

The nominal value of food vouchers will be allowed to increase from RON 15.18 to RON 20, according to a bill signed into law on Friday. The bill was passed by the Chamber of Deputies last month.


Politics (1)

PSD, ALDE and Pro Romania to announce economic measures

Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, leader of ALDE, announced he would meet with PSD's Marcel Ciolacu and Pro Romania's Victor Ponta on Monday to discuss a series of economic bills that would be filed with the Parliament. The purpose of these bills is to prevent the collapse of the national economy and to save jobs.


Social (1)

Leave procedure approved by Cabinet

The government approved quickly the procedure for granting leave to parents who supervise children aged up to 12 years, in case of suspension of classes or temporary closure of educational units. This was recently followed by the procedure by which parents can request leave, while employers request the payment of salaries to these employees from the state budget.