News

Daily Newsletter - 6 January 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (2)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
Romania recorded a EUR 758.6 million deficit in agri-food trade
Romania recorded a EUR 758.6 million deficit in agri-food trade in the first nine months of 2021, down by almost 40% compared to the same period of 2020, according to data centralized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR). The deficit exceeded EUR 1.245 billion during the period January – September 2020. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture show that exports grew by 26%, to a total of EUR 6.57 billion, while the advance of imports was lower, of only 13.5%, to EUR 7.33 billion.
Euro area’s economic recovery was affected by spreading of Omicron variant
The euro area’s economic recovery stuttered in December as a renewed wave of COVID-19 infections curtailed growth in the bloc’s dominant service industry, and could weaken further if tighter restrictions are imposed, according to data released by financial analyses firm Markit on Wednesday. As the Omicron coronavirus variant spread rapidly at the end of 2021, governments re-imposed measures to contain infection rates, particularly in Germany, Europe’s largest economy. That meant IHS Markit’s Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a good gauge of overall economic health, sank to 53.3 in December from 55.4 in November, its lowest since March 2020, according to data from London-based Markit.
IMF will release its World Economic Outlook report on 25 January
The International Monetary Fund will release its World Economic Outlook report on 25 January, a week later than initially planned, to incorporate the latest developments generated by the spreading of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 around the world into the economic forecasts, an IMF spokesperson announced on Tuesday, amid signs another downgrade will come. In October, the IMF had slightly revised downward, by 0.1%, its estimate regarding global economic growth, to 5.9% in 2021. According to the international financial institution, this revision was partially due to supply chain disruptions.
Financial 
Insurers concluded over 230,000 new direct settlement clauses in the first nine months of 2021
Insurance companies activating on the mandatory civil liability car insurance (RCA) segment sold 230,537 direct settlement clauses in the first nine months of 2021, 42% more than in the same period of the previous year, according to information published in the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA)’s report. The value of premiums underwritten based on the over 230,000 direct settlement clauses concluded by RCA insurers is thus RON 23.17 million, which means a 43.6% increase in underwriting at the end of the first nine months of 2021, year-on-year. As a result, the average annualized premium at the end of September 2021 stood at RON 115, while the number of direct settlement clauses in force amounted to 257,918, 32.2% more than in the first nine months of 2020.
The National Bank of Romania now has the lowest key rate in the region
The National Bank of Romania now has the lowest key rate in the region after the central bank of Poland increased the monetary policy rate at a fast pace amid the rising inflation. Romania is also faced with high inflation, but has had the most passive central bank in the region over the past half year. NBR’s first monetary policy meeting in 2022 will take place on 10 January. During the previous such meeting, in November, it had increased the key rate from 1.5% to 1.75%. In the meantime, the National Bank of Poland has raised the monetary policy rate twice and has gone from 0.5% to 2.25% - the latest increase, by 50 basis points, has taken place this week.
WellCode launches, in partnership with BT, a solution to finance IT training for programmers
WellCode, a provider of programming courses and mentoring services, headquartered in Cluj-Napoca, has launched, in partnership with Banca Transilvania, a solution to finance IT training with the help of a student loan, which can be accessed by students who want to pursue a programmer career, but do not have the financial resources to pay for the training. The partnership, which will be in force until the beginning of 2023, stipulates the provision, by Banca Transilvania, of a study loan to those who want to attend the mentoring program launched by WellCode, at the end of which they will become junior programmers and can be employed with monthly salaries of up to RON 5,000. In the case of pupils and students interested in attending the WellCode program, the financing solution can be accessed through their parents.
Investment 
Most modern trade networks in Romania continued their development in 2021
Most modern trade networks in Romania continued their development in 2021. Nearly 400 new hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores and proximity stores were thus opened. Foreign players made about EUR 1 billion total investments, according to ZF estimates based on data provided by companies. The money was used both for opening new stores and refurbishing existing units, and for purchasing land and building new warehouses.
On Wednesday, the Government approved a RON 42.8 million total investment
On Wednesday, the Government approved a RON 42.8 million total investment aimed at reducing the risk of floods in the Danube Delta. The financing of the project "Complex defense of localities in the Danube Delta to minimize the risk of floods on life in Tulcea County" will be ensured from non-reimbursable external funds, through the Environment, Waters and Forests Ministry’s budget, from the "Romanian Waters" National Administration’s own revenues, as well as from other legally constituted sources.
Executive approves Romania-Moldova agreement regulating the construction of aqueducts
On Wednesday, the Government approved, upon the proposal of the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, the Agreement concluded between the Government of Romania and the Government of the Republic of Moldova regulating the construction of aqueducts with under-crossing the Prut River for the supply of drinking water from Iaşi County (Romania) to Nisporeni, Ungheni, Glodeni and Falesti districts (Republic of Moldova). The investments will be carried out from S.C. APAVITAL S.A.’s budget. The first stage of the project involves building an under-crossing of the Prut River between the localities of Măcărești (Romania) and Măcărești (Republic of Moldova), which will serve the citizens in thirteen localities in Ungheni and Nisporeni districts, with a population of approximately 30,000 inhabitants.
Legislative 
PSD wants to amend the energy bills compensation law
During the first meeting of the ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) will call for the urgent adoption of amendments and additions to the legislation on citizens’ protection against the galloping increases in electricity and gas prices, a press release indicates. Previously, on Tuesday evening, PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu said that the current law could not be enforced.
Law giving students free access to all university libraries has been promulgated
On Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law amending Article 202, paragraph (1), letter b) of the National Education Law no. 1/2011. As a result, all students will have equal and free access to university libraries, including to Central-University Libraries. Upon the adoption by Parliament, Save Romania Union (USR) deputy Filip Havârneanu, one of the initiators, said that thousands of students in Romania wanted to benefit from this facility.
European News 
European Commission rejects calls for GDPR infringement procedure
For Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, it is too early to assess whether the cooperation mechanism at the basis of the enforcement of the EU’s privacy rules, the GDPR, is functioning correctly. Reynders stated his view in a reply to an open letter from 6 December co-signed by Dutch MEPs Sophie in’t Veld and Tineke Strik and the German Birgit Sippel and Cornelia Ernst. He pointed out that, under the GDPR, Ireland had the lead on most of the high-level cases as most Big Tech companies had their European legal basis there. MEPs consider the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has interpreted such policing role too timidly and have called several times on the Commission to act.
Social 
Health Ministry adds new items to the list of free and subsidized medicines
The Romanian Government approved, on Wednesday, the draft law amending and completing the list of medicines that insured persons benefit from, with or without personal contribution, based on a prescription, in the social health insurance system, as well as the corresponding international common names of medicines provided under national health programs. According to the Ministry of Health, the update to the list of free and subsidized medicines stipulates the introduction of 20 innovative molecules for patients with neurological diseases, oncological diseases - leukemia and lymphomas, mucoviscidosis, hypertension, chronic lung diseases, hemophilia and thalassemia, rare diseases, chronic hepatitis, Parkinson’s disease, severe chronic psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The Minister for Family has announced that the 119 Children’s Line has been set up
The Minister for Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities, Gabriela Firea has announced that the 119 Children’s Line has been created. As of Wednesday, cases of child abuse can be reported by calling the aforementioned phone number. The 119 Children’s Line can be used 24 hours a day and the call is free of charge, Gabriela Firea announced yesterday. The official explained that children who felt abused, neglected or victims of violence, but also people who knew of situations where children were in difficult situations can call 119.