Euro area business activity contracted less than initially thought at the end of last year as price pressures eased, according to data published by S&P Global, which suggested the bloc’s recession may not be as deep as expected.
S&P Global’s final composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the euro zone, which measures activity in industry and in the services sector, grew to 49.3 points in December 2022, from 47.8 points in November, while preliminary estimates had indicated 48.8 points for December. However, December was the sixth month when the PMI index had dropped below the 50 point mark which separates growth from contraction.
Overall industrial producer prices (domestic and foreign market) grew by 35.1% in November 2022 compared to the similar month of 2021, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). Industrial producer prices increased by 0.6% compared to October 2022, having recorded a 1% advance on the domestic market and a 0.6% decrease on the external market. The domestic market was up 44.7% and the external market - 15.7% compared with November 2021. Looking at the evolution on industry branches, the biggest increase in prices was reported in the energy sector, of 75%, followed by the consumer goods industry - 20.6%, the intermediate goods industry - 19%, and the durable goods industry - 14.8%.
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă has stated that Romania reached EUR 11.3 billion annual absorption of funds allocated by the European Union in 2022, the highest amount since it started accessing European funds. PM Ciucă has added that budget expenditure for investments probably exceeded 70% in 2022, amid the highest allocations for investments so far. Even though no final data is available yet, PM Ciucă has also pointed out that the Government managed to end 2022 with a good budget execution, having met the deficit targets.
Pillar 2 of mandatory private pensions, represented by seven pension funds which nearly 8 million employees contribute to with a portion of their gross monthly income, ended 2022 on a fall, for the first time since its launch in 2008, in a year marked by accelerated price increases, turbulent days on the stock market and the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Pillar 2 ended the year with an average decline of 3.4%, mainly generated by the dropping value of the government securities portfolio, where the funds have about 65% of assets. The Bloomberg benchmark index for euro-denominated government securities issued by the Romanian state dropped 22% in 2022, and the one illustrating the evolution of RON-denominated government securities was down 2.8%.
The euro fell by 0.09 bani against the RON on Wednesday, 4 January, the National Bank of Romania (NBR) having posted a reference exchange rate of RON 4.9264/EUR 1. Moreover, the US dollar fell by 3.78 bani against the national currency, to RON 4.6388/USD 1, compared to RON 4.6766/USD 1 in the previous session. The Swiss franc grew by 2.18 bani against the Romanian currency, to RON 5.0052/CHF 1, from RON 4.9834/CHF 1 in the previous session.
A waste plant has been inaugurated in Galați County, following a EUR 100 million investment. Waste collected from 22 localities in the north-east of the county and near the town of Târgu Bujor will be brought to this transfer station. The waste will be subsequently taken to the future treatment plant in Galați in large containers or, in the case of recyclable waste, to the sorting plant at Valea Mărului.
The Americans from NuScale Power and Romanian company RoPower Nuclear (RoPower), equally owned by Nuclearelectrica and Nova Power & Gas, have announced the signing of the contract for the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) works, which marks an important step towards the implementation of a NuScale VOYGR small modular reactor (SMR) power plant in Romania. According to a press release issued by the Romanian nuclear power producer, the contract was initialled on 28 December 2022, and the FEED works to be carried out by NuScale will define the main and specific site characteristics for a VOYGR-6 SMR power plant that could be developed on the premises of Doicești power plant.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is raising USD 750 million in a new round of funding that values the company at USD 137 billion, according to CNBC. According to an email sent to prospective SpaceX investors, Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z) will likely lead the new funding round. Early SpaceX investors included Founders Fund, Sequoia, Gigafund and many others.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) will ask the ruling coalition to reject the draft law initiated by former Prime Minister Florin Cîțu and former Interior Minister Marcel Vela, which proposes banning the export of live animals to third countries of EU (B849/2022). According to the Social Democrats, PSD has always encouraged the processing of raw materials in the country to obtain products with high added value, but in this case, important segments of the national animal breeding sector would be ruined by destroying farms and animal husbandry in Romania.
The Presidential Administration has announced that President Klaus Iohannis has signed the decree promulgating the Law amending Annex 8 to Framework-Law 153/2017 on the salaries of staff paid from public funds and amending and completing Law 7/2006 on the status of parliamentary civil servants. On 20 December, within the review of the draft law amending the aforementioned framework-law, the Chamber of Deputies, had removed, following a decision of the Constitutional Court, several texts that referred to increases granted to staff and officials of several ministries, and had kept certain regulations on parliamentary civil servants.
Government has approved the Government Decision on the granting of compensations for damages and/or losses caused by wildlife species of hunting interest mentioned in Annexes 1 and 2 to the Hunting and Game Fund Protection Law 407/2006 and some measures for its implementation, upon the Environment, Waters and Forests Ministry’s proposal. The normative act approved on Wednesday, 4 January provides for a more efficient procedure for acknowledging and establishing the compensations for damages caused by wildlife species of hunting interest to agricultural crops/forests/domestic animals and motor vehicles, as well as a more rigorous way of determining civil liability.
Ukraine and the European Union will hold a summit in Kyiv on 3 February to discuss financial and military support, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said in a statement on Monday (2 January). Zelenskyy discussed details of the high-level meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in his first phone call of the year, the statement said. Last November the EU launched the European Union Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine) to continue supporting Ukraine against the ongoing Russian war of aggression.
Europeans’ financial behaviour is prudent in 2023, as they would rather protect their assets and real estate properties, their health or even their lives, than invest in new financial instruments or increase their debts through loans, according to a survey conducted by Revolut and Dynata on 8,032 respondents in eight European countries, including 1,000 Romanians. In Romania, both men and women are very interested in saving, and deposits are their first choice of financial instruments in 2023, with 35% of respondents among women and 36% of men. As to regions where Romanians are oriented towards saving, the South-East (42%) ranks first, followed by Bucharest-Ilfov (39%) and the South-West, including Oltenia (38%).
Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels accounted for a quarter (25%) of household consumption expenditure in 2021, down by 0.5% year-on-year, while food and non-alcoholic beverages represented 14.3%, also down by 0.5% against the previous year, according to Eurostat data. Transport ranks third, having accounted for 12.1% of total expenditure in 2021, up by 0.5% compared to 2020. The increase is linked to the withdrawal of measures imposed during the pandemic, which had affected mobility in the European Union.