World food prices rose for a third straight month in October to reach a fresh ten-year peak, led again by increases in cereals and vegetable oils, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has announced. FAO’s monthly Food Price Index tracks price changes in a food basket consisting of cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products, meat and sugar. This index grew to 133.2 points in October 2021, the highest level since July 2011, 3.9% above the level recorded in September 2021 and up by 31.3% year-on-year.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) estimates 7.2% economic growth for Romania this year and 4.4% in 2022, considering that, next year, economy will benefit from the first investments financed from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) and the recovery of exports, which will offset the decline in private consumption and fiscal consolidation measures. However, analysts point out that the unpredictable evolution of the pandemic, given the low vaccination rate in Romania, is a risk to the forecast.
Population and companies’ appetite for loans decreased considerably in October, as indicated by the lower number of queries run by banks to the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) to verify potential clients’ data, probably influenced by the recent price increases, especially at energy, gas and fuels. The number of queries operated by banks at ANAF regarding clients/potential clients’ incomes, individuals and legal entities, with a view to the provision of loans, fell sharply, to 162,132, from 257,412 in September.
The total value of real estate investments exceeded EUR 540 million in Romania in the first nine months of 2021, almost half of the traded amount having been recorded in Q3 of the year, according to Colliers Romania consultants. The overall investments market decreased, compared to the EUR 820 million real estate transactions concluded in the same period of 2020, and investment returns for industrial assets and A-class offices shrank, according to a press release. The aforementioned source indicates that demand on the market remains robust, given that products shortage has limited the total volume. Colliers consultants point out that several important items remain on the agenda for the following quarters, mainly, but not exclusively, in the office sector.
Insurance brokerage companies accumulated RON 132.1 million debts to insurers in H1/2021, but 99.47% of their total value was not past due, according to the Financial Supervisory Authority’s report. On the other hand, total receivables from the brokerage activity stood at RON 102.3 million in the first half of 2021, down by 21.86% year-on-year. In this case, non-past due receivables represented 72.31%, and over 30-day past due receivables accounted for 16.74% of the total volume.
The National Bank of Romania has set up an internal structure, called the Sustainability and Green Economy Office, in order to further analyze the implications of climate change in the Romanian banking sector, according to a press release issued by the institution. NBR also indicated that it had facilitated debates among representatives of central banks, of national and international institutions, economic think-tanks or academia, on addressing the challenges for the financial system posed by climate change, including during its latest Annual Seminar on Financial Stability Issues organized jointly with the International Monetary Fund.
BRD-Societe Generale ended the first nine months of 2021 with a net banking income of RON 2.3 billion, 1.2% higher than in the similar period of 2020, and a net profit of RON 920 million, up by 25%, according to the financial report published on Thursday. The increase in revenues was supported by higher lending volumes, which offset the impact of lower market interest rates. The non-performing loans rate decreased to 3.2%, and the NPL coverage rate stood at 75.3% at the end of September 2021.
Groupama has launched the Health - Hospitalization and Surgery Insurance dedicated to SMEs, a tool through which companies, regardless of their size, can offer financial support to employees and their families when faced with an unforeseen event, according to a press release. The product launched by Groupama allows customizing the insurance policy according to the organization’s needs and to employees’ preferences and is available in two access options - "Anywhere" (in any private or public hospital) or "Regina Maria" (in Regina Maria Private Healthcare Network).
Tudor Mihailescu, Group CFO at eMAG, has stated that eMAG plans to invest RON 3.2 billion within the next three years in order to support the company’s development objectives. Of this sum, RON 446 million will be allocated for the development of Romanian technology. These investments will trigger developments for eMAG partners in Romania, regardless of whether they are sellers in the Marketplace, who can thus expand internationally, or Romanian farmers selling their products through Freshful, Tudor Mihăilescu has also indicated.
Regional operator Apaserv Satu Mare, subordinated to Satu Mare County Council, has started a RON 109.4 million (over EUR 22 million) project for the extension of the water supply system in Negreşti-Oaş and Certeze localities, but also of the sewerage system from Negreşti-Oaş agglomeration, Satu Mare County. The duration of the works is 22 months, which a 36-month warranty period will add to. The regional project for the development of water and wastewater infrastructure in Satu Mare County/North-West Region is carried out through the 2014-2020 Large Infrastructure Operational Program.
Constanţa City Hall has announced that it will invest EUR 5 million at the Clinical Hospital for Infectious Diseases, a medical unit where a fire broke out and seven people died at the beginning of October. The works to be carried out aim to increase the energy efficiency of the building the hospital operates in. Constanţa City Hall transmitted, on Thursday, in a press release, that the financing contract for the project "Increasing the energy efficiency of Constanţa Municipal Hospital’s building" had been signed.
The Chamber of Deputies tacitly adopted, on Wednesday, the legislative proposal establishing the public register of former Securitate workers and extending citizens and the press’s right to information on links with the former Securitate of persons holding public positions, by verifying up to their third-degree relatives. The deadline for the debate and vote on the draft law was exceeded on 29 October and the proposal is thus considered adopted as per Article 75 paragraph (2) Thesis III of Romania’s Constitution, the interim President of the Chamber, Sorin Grindeanu announced during the Chamber of Deputies’ plenary session. The draft law will go to the Senate for debate, which is the decision-making chamber.
Politicians in Romania started a new round of negotiations with the aim of forming a coalition, more than two months after the center-right coalition collapsed. For the first time since USR voted for the censure motion that led to the fall of the government headed by Florin Citu, the leaders of PNL and USR talked about rebuilding the coalition. Before the no-confidence vote, USR repeatedly said that they wanted to remain in the coalition but with a different prime minister. However, PNL elected Citu as their president and continued to support him as prime minister, resulting in the political crisis that has gripped the country.
Interim Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, Barna Tanczos announced on Thursday, in a press conference, that a new session of the "Electrical Household Appliances Scrapping Program" would take place in December and would have a RON 34 million allocated budget. The minister also announced that three more programs would be launched this year, namely one for the construction of charging stations for electric cars, another one for the installation of photovoltaic panels and, last but not least, a session dedicated to bicycle lanes.
President Klaus Iohannis has announced that schools will remain open depending on each educational unit’s vaccination rate at personnel level. The head of state has also indicated that the Ministries of Health and Education will issue a joint order on this issue. Moreover, Klaus Iohannis has pointed out that experts from the two ministries and from the National Public Health Institute are working on the new regulations.