News

Daily Newsletter - 4 January 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (1)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Manufacturing activity in the euro area remains resilient
Manufacturing activity in the euro area remained resilient at the end of 2021 as factories took advantage of an easing in supply chain bottlenecks and stocked up on raw materials at a record pace, according to data published by financial analyses firm Markit. Disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, along with a shortage of truck drivers had led to a production deficit, having left factories struggling to get the necessary raw materials in the last months. However, a tentative easing of the supply issues led to a marked decrease in price pressures. IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in the euro area, which measures activity in industry and in the services sector, decreased to 58 points in December, from 58.4 points in November, according to data from London-based Markit.
Romania’s GDP grew by EUR 17 billion in 2021, compared to 2019
Romania’s Gross Domestic Product grew by EUR 17 billion in 2021, compared to 2019, and reached nearly RON 1,190 billion, an all-time high, according to the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Tourism, Constantin-Daniel Cadariu. He has also pointed out that the fiscal-budgetary strategy for 2021-2023, based on which the budget for 2021 was built, forecasts 4.3% economic growth and a GDP of RON 1,116.837 billion. Moreover, the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis estimated, in the autumn version of its medium-term forecast for 2021 – 2025, a RON 1,190.3 billion value of the Gross Domestic Product in 2021, up by 7% year-on-year.
The year 2022 should mark the transition of amnesty from a fiscal to a support measure
The year 2022 should mark the transition of amnesty from a fiscal measure that helped tax payers pay their pre-pandemic tax debts during the pandemic period to one that should help them pay the main tax debts incurred during the pandemic, according to a press release issued by PwC Romania. Moreover, according to the analysis, Government Ordinance 130/2021, adopted at the end of December, marked the introduction of a significant number of important fiscal-budgetary legislative measures.
Financial 
One United Properties benefits from Raiffeisen Centrobank’s Issuer Market Maker services
One United Properties (ONE), a developer on the market of premium real estate projects in Romania, has benefited from Raiffeisen Centrobank’s Issuer Market Maker services since 3 January 2022. Raiffeisen Centrobank is the second liquidity provider for ONE shares, after BRK Financial Group, which has been providing similar services since August 2021. The real estate developer with RON 3.3 billion (EUR 668 million) market capitalization was listed on the main segment of Bucharest Stock Exchange in July 2021, after having finalized an initial public offering through which it had attracted RON 260 million from investors.
Grawe Romania will be capitalized by RON 30 million
Grawe Romania, the local subsidiary of the Austrian insurance group Grawe, will be capitalized by RON 30 million, to RON 101 million. The funds will be used for the underwriting activity on the general insurance segment. The operation is awaiting the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF)’s approval to be registered with the National Trade Register Office. The Austrian group Grawe has been present on the Romanian insurance market since 2000, the local subsidiary providing general and life insurance services.
NBR started 2020 with over EUR 40 billion foreign exchange reserves
The National Bank of Romania’s foreign exchange reserves stood at EUR 40.47 billion on 31 December 2021, compared to EUR 39.28 billion on 30 November 2021. This increase (of nearly EUR 1.2 billion) is due to the over EUR 5 billion worth of inflows representing: changes in credit institutions’ foreign currency-denominated required reserves with the NBR; inflows into the Ministry of Finance’s accounts (including the first tranche of the loan from the European Commission under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan – PNRR and other. Moreover, the EUR 3.83 billion worth of outflows represented: changes in credit institutions’ foreign currency-denominated required reserves with the NBR; interest payments and principal repayments on foreign currency public debt and other. The gold stock remained steady at 103.6 tons. However, following the change in the international price of gold, its value amounted to EUR 5.35 billion.
Investment 
CFR has launched a tender, worth RON 5 million, for consultancy and supervision services
The Romanian National Railways Company "CFR" announced on Monday that it had launched an open tender, worth RON 4,992,516.79, VAT not included, for consultancy and supervision services for the design and execution of "Works in Fetești and Ciulnița Railway Stations". The estimated total duration of services is 84 months, calculated by taking into account the estimated duration of design and execution of works - 24 months and the warranty and defects notification period - 60 months.
BCR Pensii has RON 9.4 million investments in TeraPlast
BCR Pensii, the most diversified Pillar 2 private pension fund among the seven such funds existing in Romania, especially in terms of equity investments, with 40 companies in its portfolio on this segment, added TeraPlast and One United in Q3/2021 and re-entered Sphera Group. In September 2021, BCR Pensii had RON 9.4 million invested in building materials manufacturer TeraPlast, RON 6.4 million in Sphera (KFC, Pizza Hut) - an investment it had liquidated in Q4/2020 - and RON 3.2 million in real estate developer One United Properties, a company listed on Bucharest Stock Exchange last summer.
Real estate developer Hagag Development Europe is to buy the Rex Hotel in Mamaia
Real estate developer with Israeli capital Hagag Development Europe, controlled by businessman Yitzhak Hagag, is to buy the Rex Hotel in Mamaia seaside resort from the family of Carmen Palade, businessman Dan Adamescu’s former wife. Businessman George Becali had made a public offer for the acquisition of the former five-star hotel for about EUR 10 million in 2018, but no longer bought the property due to the "complicated paperwork situation". Investments in renovating the hotel, which was damaged by a fire in 2011, have been estimated at EUR 8-10 million. Therefore, the property’s sale price could be around EUR 3 million.
Legislative 
Chamber of Deputies tacitly adopted a draft law submitted by PSD
The Chamber of Deputies has tacitly adopted a draft law which stipulates that new judges of the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) must not have been members of any party in the last eight years prior to their appointment. The Senate has the final say on the matter. Had the law been in force in the past, it would have prevented three of the current CCR judges, including Valer Dorneanu, from filling their current offices. The draft law, proposed by the head of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) himself, had been ignored by the ruling coalition, which led to the tacit adoption by the Chamber of Deputies, the deadline for debate and vote having been the last day of 2021.
European News 
USA and its allies will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine
US President Joe Biden on Sunday, 2 January, told Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy the United States and its allies would "respond decisively" if Russia further invaded Ukraine, the White House said in a statement. Moreover, Biden and Zelenskiy discussed preparations for a series of upcoming diplomatic meetings to address the crisis, according to the White House. Zelenskiy said on Twitter that they had discussed joint actions on keeping peace in Europe and preventing further escalation.
Social 
Prime Minister Ciucă met with those in charge of managing the Covid-19 pandemic
The Government has announced that Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă called a meeting at Victoria Palace on Monday to analyze measures to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ministers and representatives of the Health, Finance, Justice, Education, Labor and Social Solidarity Ministers, as well as the head of the Department for Emergency Situations were invited to take part in the meeting. The continuation of the anti-Covid-19 vaccination campaign was among the topics debated on this occasion. Moreover, participants analyzed the effectiveness of programs for pupils and students’ Covid-19 testing and the possibility of including the provision of free masks to pupils who need such products into the package, along with the capacity to perform tests in schools.
Education Minister made several statements about the impact of the pandemic on education
On Monday, 3 January 2022, the Ministry of Education announced, referring to the holding of school Olympiads and competitions, that "unfortunately, the epidemiological context does not allow resuming all these competitions in safe conditions". As a result, the first selection was made in order to allow Romania’s participation in the announced international competitions. The Ministry also transmitted that the framework-methodology, the specific regulations for school Olympiads’ organization and the competition calendar would be adapted to the epidemiological context and would be sent for publication as soon as possible.