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Daily Newsletter - 5 March 2020

Summary

Macroeconomic News (2)

Retail sales surge to two-year high

Retail sales accelerated in January to a two-year high, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS), published on Wednesday. The retail sector data is a barometer for private consumption (the main component of GDP at present) and the increase is likely to cause concern. "The retail sector continued to evolve above its potential for the fifth consecutive month in January," said Banca Transilvania's Andrei Radulescu.

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EC launches excessive deficit procedure against Romania

The European Commission has started the excessive deficit procedure against Romania, according to Minister of Finance Florin Citu. The proposed recommendation stipulates that Romania must pursue a sustainable and credible adjustment path in order to end the excessive deficit by 2022, at the latest. The general consolidated budget, which includes both the state budget, as well as the pension and unemployment budgets, saw a deficit of EUR 10.18 billion at the end of 2019, 4.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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Financial News (3)

ING increases management fees for some clients

ING Bank has decided to increase the management fee for clients who do not receive recurring revenues through the bank, beginning with May, in compensation for slashing or eliminating the fees on foreign currency transactions. The bank will also offer a better exchange rate for transfers and payments, given that its own exchange rate varies from the BNR reference rate by 3.5%.

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3M ROBOR rate down to 2.89%

The three-month ROBOR rate, which is used to calculate the interest rates of RON-denominated loans, dropped to 2.89%, the lowest figure in the past 12 months, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR).

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Credit card payments surged in Q4, 2019

The value of credit card payment transactions has doubled in the last 4 years, reaching RON 4 billion in 2019. The number of transactions has also soared from 11 million in 2015 to 22 million in 2019, according to an analysis conducted by the Romanian Banking Association (ARB) based on statistics published by the National Bank of Romania (BNR). Over 27% of last year's credit card transactions were made in the last quarter, mostly because of the winter holiday shopping.

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Investment News (1)

Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport to invest in passenger safety

The Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport in Constanta will spend RON 12 million on increasing passenger safety. The Ministry of Transport (MTIC) approved on Wednesday the documentation for this project.

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Legislative News (1)

Minister of Health backs vaccination bill

The Minister-designate of Health, Victor Costache, voiced his support for the vaccination bill, although he admitted that he could not "guarantee every Parliament vote". Costache sees the bill as vitally important.

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Politics (1)

Iohannis: PSD keeps hanging on to power

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that the Social Democrats (PSD) continue to "hang on desperately" to power and insist on blocking any reform initiative. The president called 2020 a "decisive year".

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Social (2)

Arafat: There's no question of isolating or closing a city

Raed Arafat, head of the Emergency Situation Department (DSU), stated that there's no question of isolating or closing a city in Romania at this time, following reports of the third coronavirus case in Timisoara.

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More than one third of Romania's children live in homes without indoor toilets

More than one third of Romania's children live in homes without indoor toilets, the EU average being 2.6%, while one in five children who do not have sanitary facilities at home do not wash their hands after using the toilet, according to the "Child welfare in rural areas" report. The research carried out by the World Vision Romania Foundation in 2018.

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