News

Daily Newsletter - 6 January 2023

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (3)
Investment (3)
Legislative (3)
European News (1)
Social (3)
Macroeconomic 
Ministry of Finance plans to borrow up to USD 4 billion from external markets
The Ministry of Finance plans to borrow up to USD 4 billion from external markets by issuing foreign currency-denominated government securities, according to a draft Order published in the Official Gazette of Romania. The Finance Ministry thus approved the early redemption of the series of USD-denominated bonds maturing on 22 August 2023, coupon 4.375%, and on 22 January 2024, coupon 4.875%, and their total or partial exchange with new bonds, by contracting a loan on external capital markets within the Medium Term Notes framework program.
The year 2023 is bound to be full of macroeconomic challenges
The year 2023 is bound to be full of challenges. The energy crisis continues to affect Europe, inflation will remain high until 2024, and the scenario of an economic recession seems imminent. The foreign exchange market is expected to react to these factors by increasing exchange rate volatility, with negative effects on companies’ financial situations. Thus, in a context where volatility on the foreign exchange market tends to grow, iBanFirst analysts recommend Romanian companies to take measures to protect themselves against currency risk in order to maintain their competitive advantage on international markets.
European Commission has reimbursed more than EUR 1 billion to Romania
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) announced on Thursday that the European Commission had reimbursed more than EUR 1 billion to Romania of the sums spent on advance payments granted to farmers during the period 16 October-30 November 2022. On 5 January, MADR cashed EUR 1,033,896,609.11 into the account opened with the National Bank of Romania.
Financial 
Ministry of Finance borrowed over RON 3 billion from banks on Thursday
Ministry of Finance borrowed RON 3.34 billion from banks on Thursday in the first auction of government securities in 2023, at yields of 7.34% and 8.15% per year. In the first auction, the Finance Ministry reopened a bonds issue maturing in April 2036 and borrowed RON 1.97 billion, almost five times the programmed amount of RON 400 million, at an annual interest rate of 8.15%. The total volume of demand was RON 2.35 billion, of which non-competitive bids totaled RON 195.8 million.
Health insurance market reached RON 509 million written premiums in first 9 months of 2022
The health insurance market reached a volume of RON 509 million gross written premiums in the first nine months of 2022, up by 33% year-on-year, according to information published by the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF). The average premium in the health insurance area was RON 2,442 in the first nine months of 2022, given a total number of contracts of 208,600.
In 2023, the insurance market may maintain some of the accelerated advance recorded in 2022
In 2023, the insurance market may maintain some of the accelerated advance recorded in 2022. The car insurance area, more specifically the mandatory civil liability car (RCA) insurance segment, will remain the driver of the market, and the evolution of policy prices and sales volumes will be key factors for the advance of the market in 2023. The year 2021 ended with a 24% growth rate, while the first 9 months of 2022 brought a 23% increase in the market. The growth rate will most likely remain a double digit figure in 2023.
Investment 
A new investment has been made in Ciugud
The most modern kindergarten in Alba County was inaugurated in Ciugud Commune, on Thursday. The investment amounted to EUR 1.6 million. The kindergarten, built in the industrial area of the commune, has multiple facilities, from interactive games, floor projectors, rooms for each group, medical unit, bathrooms specially adapted for children and last but not least an indoor playground, where the little ones can be supervised from the hallways.
Phoenixy, the producer of Gusto corn puffs, made EUR 10 million investments in 2022
Phoenixy, the producer of Gusto corn puffs, invested EUR 10 million in improving the quality of Gusto products and in new production technologies in 2022. Phoenixy is the corn puffs market leader, but its portfolio contains other types of snacks as well. The company has a production unit in Băicoi (Prahova County) and is also one of the largest entrepreneurial companies in the county. About 1.2 million bags of corn puffs are produced in the plant in Băicoi every day, according to the latest data available.
More than RON 228 million will be invested in roads, bridges and sewerage systems
Minister of Development, Public Works and Administration Cseke Attila has signed 20 new financing contracts under the "Anghel Saligny" National Investments Program, worth a total of RON 228,599,361.20, for 20 administrative-territorial units, according to a press release issued by the institution on Thursday. The signed contracts target the rehabilitation and modernization of several streets and roads of local interest, the construction of bridges, of sewerage networks and of connections to existing sewerage networks.
Legislative 
Animals International harshly criticizes PSD, which opposes live animal exports
Animals International salutes the Romanian Senate’s initiative to debate the draft law for the gradual replacement of live animal exports with meat exports by 2025. Moreover, the organization contradicts the Social Democratic Party (PSD)’s position which rejects the draft law by citing false arguments, according to a press release issued by the organization. On Wednesday, PSD criticized a draft law banning the export of live animals, initiated by several MPs from the National Liberal Party (PNL), including Florin Cîțu and Marcel Vela.
Draft law repealing a provision overtaxing part-time work contracts received a positive opinion
REPER party’s draft law aimed at repealing the provision that overtaxes part-time employment contracts at the level of the minimum wage, submitted to Parliament at the end of 2022, received a positive opinion from the Economic and Social Council (ESC) on Wednesday, according to Cătălin Teniță, REPER MP for Bucharest. The draft law had been submitted on 15 December, less than 24 hours after the Constitutional Court had ruled on the matter, as the over-taxation of this type of contracts is already affecting employees in the most vulnerable categories, as well as small entrepreneurs, especially start-ups, REPER pointed out.
Government approves decision on indicators for Danube canals’ modernization
On Wednesday, 4 January, the Government approved a decision on the technical-economic indicators for the modernization of the Danube - Black Sea and Poarta Albă - Midia, Năvodari canals in order to increase navigation safety. The total value of the investment exceeds RON 1.6 billion and the execution period is 60 months, according to a press release issued by the Executive. The project is part of Romania’s General Transport Master Plan and of the transport network of European interest.
European News 
EU countries are encouraged to demand Covid tests from passengers coming from China
EU countries are "strongly encouraged" to demand Covid tests from passengers coming from China, a crisis meeting of European Union experts decided Wednesday (4 January). The meeting also recommended that passengers to and from China wear face masks, that EU countries conduct random tests on arrivals and test wastewater from flights from China, according to a statement issued by the Swedish presidency of the EU. Wednesday’s meeting was held to coordinate a joint EU response to a sudden inflow of visitors from China after Beijing lifted its "zero-Covid" policy that for three years had imposed strict restrictions on movement in the country when infections were detected.
Social 
Schools will re-open under normal conditions
Schools will reopen on January 9 as scheduled, Education Minister Ligia Deca announced on Thursday, adding that non-attendance was not encouraged. Minister Deca pointed out that wearing a protective mask was recommended for teachers and students, emphasizing the importance of observing hygiene rules. She also announced that she would have a meeting with school inspectors to discuss the matter on Friday, 6 January.
Specialists shortage and economic uncertainties will accelerate employee retention strategies
The shortage of specialists and economic uncertainties will accelerate employee retention strategies in 2023, according to an analysis conducted by online recruitment platform BestJobs. The cited source also indicates that companies have slowed the pace of recruitments at the start of 2023 and will increasingly focus on team development to meet growth needs. The analysis notes that 2022 was a year of records in recruiting, with more than 400,000 jobs available on the BestJobs platform and 5.5 million candidates who filled in over 8 million job applications, illustrating the highest interest in the past five years.
A state of epidemic alert for influenza is declared in Romania
The Minister of Health has announced that a state of epidemic alert for influenza will be declared, yet without any restrictions and quarantine and isolation measures, but only with recommendations for protection, assuring that this is an unprecedented but not dramatic situation. Avoiding restrictions is also one of the reasons why authorities do not want to declare a flu epidemic at this stage, only a state of alert. This season, respiratory infections are likely to peak between 15 January and 10 February and then to start decreasing.