Daily Newsletter - 23 May 2022


Macroeconomic (4)
Financial (4)
Investment (3)
Legislative (4)
European News (1)
Social (1)
Romanian economy may record quasi-stagnation in Q2/2022
Romanian economy may record quasi-stagnation in Q2/2022, after the reacceleration of economic growth in Q1/2022, under the impact of the war in Ukraine and associated sanctions, according to the minutes of the monetary policy meeting of NBR’s Board of Directors on 10 May 2022, published on Friday. According to the latest indicators, the probable slowdown in annual economic growth in Q1 is mainly driven by private consumption, while the opposite influences are likely to come from gross fixed capital formation and net exports, as the somewhat stronger increase in the annual variation of goods and services imports in the first two months, compared to exports, mainly reflects the unfavorable evolution of external prices.
NBR Board of Directors is not too optimistic about the evolution of inflation
The members of the National Bank of Romania (NBR)’s Board of Directors are not too optimistic about inflation, which will remain extremely high until June 2023. The latest data show that inflation will be 12.5% in December and 12.4% in June 2023, much above the previously forecast 9.6% and 5% levels. The central bank has indicated that a stronger intervention onto the market by further increasing interest rates and tightening the money supply would have a devastating effect on economy.
Romanian economy will feel impact of war at border, according to First Bank CEO
A war so close to Romania has a negative impact on general sentiment and confidence, which is never constructive for economy, according to Henk Paardekooper, executive president/CEO of First Bank, who has about three decades of experience in banking. He anticipates that Romania’s economy will feel the wider impact of the war on the border between Russia and Ukraine due to the general shock effects and one can already see higher energy and natural resource prices, with an impact on the food and commodities supply chain.
PSD president says Romania has the highest economic growth in Europe
The leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marcel Ciolacu has stated that Romania has the highest economic growth in Europe and that "the Government will definitely have to come up with a third social package, based on which economic growth will be reflected in the living standards of the population". He has also indicated that incomes of "low and middle income earners" must be increased.
NBR Boars members unanimously decide on largest monetary policy increase in years
The members of the National Bank of Romania’s Board of Directors unanimously agreed that the overall economic context called for a 0.75% increase in the monetary policy interest rate in order to anchor medium-term inflation expectations and boost saving, so as to ensure a sustainable return of the annual inflation rate in line with the 2.5% +/- 1% target, in a manner conducive to sustainable economic growth, according to the minutes of NBR’s latest monetary policy meeting.
Societe Generale could select new CEO from among internal candidates
Societe Generale’s CEO, whose term will end in 2023, is in favor of selecting an internal candidate to lead the French banking group for the next 10-15 years after his departure, trade union representatives stated after the meeting with Frederic Oudea. SocGen has announced that Mr. Oudea will not seek to renew his mandate during the next shareholders’ meeting on 23 May 2023.
CEC Bank has reported a RON 54.2 million net profit for Q1/2022
CEC Bank has reported a RON 54.2 million net profit and RON 50.4 billion assets for Q1/2022, up by 19% year-on-year, above the average asset growth in the banking system (11.9%). The bank’s financial performance in the first quarter was supported by a 15% increase in net interest income compared to the similar period of 2021, to RON 319.1 million, while net fee income grew by 11%, to RON 77.8 million.
Banca Transilvania has launched the option of applying online for APIA loans
Banca Transilvania has launched the option of applying online for APIA loans granted to the bank’s clients who benefit from subsidies, on BT’s website directly. It completes the bank’s offer of loans granted based on subsidies, alongside with other loans dedicated to farmers. Thus, depending on each client’s option, the entire lending process, including the receipt of APIA certificates and the signing of the loan contract, can take place online, without having to go to the bank. The APIA loan is an advance loan, which ensures the money needed for current farm payments until the APIA subsidy is received and is granted for up to 90% of the amount a BT client is to receive.
Environment Minister has put two investment guides up for public consultation
Environment Minister Tanczos Barna put two guidelines for investments in water management through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) up for public consultation on Friday, 20 May. According to the Environment Minister, the first funding guide is aimed at extending water and sewerage systems in localities with more than 2,000 inhabitants and the second guide targets investments in wastewater collection in localities with less than 2,000 inhabitants in protected natural areas.
Sorin Grindeanu announces major investments in Galati - Braila area
Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu has announced that major investments will be made in Galaţi - Brăila area in all modes of transport, whether in the port, road or airport sectors, in the following years. The Minister has indicated that these projects must be demarcated to help the business environment and that he also wants to contribute to changing the economic and social map of the entire region.
Operator e& is considering joint investments with Vodafone
The biggest telecommunications operator in the United Arab Emirates, e& has announced that it is considering joint investments with Vodafone, after having bought a 9.8% stake in the British group, for USD 4.4 billion, last week, in an attempt to diversify its operations at global level. e& wants to collaborate with Vodafone in the acquisitions sector and on the research and development (R&D) segment. In February this year, the former Etisalat changed its name to e& aiming to turn into a global technology investment conglomerate. Hatem Dowidar, the CEO of the company from the United Arab Emirates, has stated that he is confident in Vodafone’s strategy, including streamlining the business and consolidation in Europe.
President Klaus Iohannis promulgated a new law on Friday
On Friday, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law that sets the amount of RON 22 as food allowance for children in public daycare services, for children and young people whom special protection measure have been established for in a public residential service and for children in family-type homes. The normative act amends the Law on the Protection and Promotion of Children’s Rights and on Social Assistance Measures.
Government will adopt an OUG to allow online university education
Education Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu has announced that the Government will adopt an emergency ordinance on Wednesday, 25 May that will create the legal framework for a certain percentage of full-time university education to be carried out online. Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu has also indicated that compliance with standards will be verified in maximum five years’ time, upon the institutional evaluation.
Secondary school GPA may no longer be taken into account for high school admission
Secondary school grade point averages may no longer be taken into account for high school admissions after the National Education Law is amended. It is a scenario supported by Education Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu himself, who has stated that grades have lost much of their relevance. As for the subjects for the national assessment, the Education Minister recently said that those, along with the baccalaureate subjects, would be "perfectly adapted" to the two-year period during which students had studied under health crisis conditions.
Employees or former employees in Romania will have online access to REVISAL data
On Friday, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the draft law submitted by Save Romania Union (USR) that will give Romanian employees and former employees online and unrestricted access to their data in the Employees Register (REVISAL). Under the law, employees will be able to view, at any time, information on their employment contracts and length of service, as well as whether their employers have paid contributions to the state. Information on the level and specialization of education will also be included in the Employees Register, to help the persons who fill positions that require certain qualifications.
European News 
Portuguese PM tells troops in Romania they have to maintain peace in Europe
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa told his troops in Romania on Thursday that their main objective would be to maintain peace in Europe and stressed respect for international law and the defensive nature of NATO. Costa addressed the 222 Portuguese military personnel at the Caracal Military Base, next to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, who expressed thanks for their presence in the country as well as Portugal’s "contribution" to the modernization of the Romanian Armed Forces. In a speech in Portuguese and English, Costa stressed the "defensive" nature of NATO and highlighted the principle of the Atlantic Alliance, according to which an attack on one member state is considered "an attack against all".
Minister Cîmpeanu called online learning "a real educational catastrophe"
Education Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu has stated that students who have to take national exams this year should expect the difficulty of subjects to be adapted to the learning context. Minister Cîmpeanu described the online learning imposed by the pandemic as "a real educational catastrophe". During a TV program, when asked whether he believed that the imposed online education system was a mockery for children, Mr. Cîmpeanu explained that interest in education must be combined with interest in health.