News

Daily Newsletter - 6 May 2022

Summary

Macroeconomic (3)
Financial (4)
Investment (3)
Legislative (2)
European News (1)
Social (4)
Macroeconomic 
Economic expansion has almost come to a halt in the euro area
Economic expansion has almost come to a halt in the euro area, according to Fabio Panetta, a member of the European Central Bank (ECB)’s Executive Board. He has warned that it would be imprudent for the Frankfurt-based institution to increase the key rate without having first seen the GDP data for the second quarter. Mr. Panetta’s comments strike a far more cautious approach than those from some of his colleagues in the ECB Board, who have raised the possibility of a benchmark interest rate increase starting from July to combat the soaring prices.
Economic consequences of the war will be felt from second half of 2022 and even beyond 2023
Coface has revised upwards its estimate regarding the cost of the war in Ukraine for global economy to about 1% in 2022. The consequences of the conflict will be felt especially starting from the second half of the year and will continue to be felt even after 2023, the consultancy firm indicates. More than two months after the start of the war in Ukraine, on 24 February, the prospects for a quick resolution of the war look increasingly unlikely. As sanctions against Russia continue to pile up, a return to the pre-war situation seems illusory, even if the conflict ends early.
Rising inflation has undermined confidence in Western economies
The rising inflation has undermined confidence in Western economies, and central banks are acting timidly for fear of suppressing economic growth and are waiting to see whether inflation is transitory, according to eToro analyst Bogdan Maioreanu. 69% of Romanian investors distrust local economy, but they are 5% fewer than at the end of last year. Although they do not trust the economy, individual investors in Romania see no problems related to revenues and level of living, as two-thirds of them are confident about the stability of their income, down by 8% against December 2021. Moreover, the eToro Retail Investor Beat data also show that 73% trust their investments. It is worth mentioning that 61% of Romanian investors have children and 4% are expecting a child.
Financial 
BCR extends offer of services provided on "George pentru afaceri" platform
Banca Comercială Română continues to extend the services provided on "George pentru afaceri" (George for Enterprises) platform to non-banking products and announces a partnership with Edenred, a supplier of prepaid service vouchers offering companies direct access to fringe benefits for employees. Starting this month, entrepreneurs using "George pentru afaceri" platform can access the products offered by Edenred (Restaurant Ticket Card, Gift Card, Culture Card and Holiday Card) from the online store.
RCA market continues the consolidation that started in the latter part of 2021
The market of mandatory civil liability car (RCA) insurance policies continues the consolidation that had stated in the latter part of last year. February 2022 marked the continuation of the diversification process, an essential element in increasing competition and ultimately market stability. Data reported by insurance companies and aggregated by the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) show that gross underwritten premiums reached RON 2.47 billion in the first three months of 2022. Euroins’s market share was under 35% in February, down from nearly 38% in January, while the players filling the next places in the ranking increased their shares. As a result, Allianz Țiriac exceeded 20.3% in February, up from 18.7% in January, and Groupama reached an over 19.3% level in February, up from less than 14.5% in January. Asirom VIG, Grawe and Omniasig VIG continued to have considerable market shares, of about 8% in February.
Most Romanian Internet users opt for online banking
Nearly 68% of internet users in Romania use Mobile Banking and Internet Banking services, according to a survey conducted by CEC Bank in partnership with FinZoom.ro platform. The cited data indicate that two thirds of the 67.8% of users who prefer online services use digital banking services on a weekly basis or even more often, and the remaining one third are occasional users.
BRD Group ended Q1/2022 with RON 810 million revenues
BRD group recorded RON 810 million total revenues in Q1 of 2022, up by 7.5% year-on-year, and a RON 263 million net profit, 18% above the level reported for the same period of 2021, according to the financial report published on Thursday. Net interest income grew by 9.8% y/y, to RON 556 million, as a result of the higher loan volumes, while the positive effect of the rising interest rates has started to gradually reflect itself in revenues.
Investment 
DP World has invested EUR 15 million in a new intermodal terminal in Aiud
Logistics company DP World has invested EUR 15 million in a new intermodal terminal in Aiud, close to Alba Iulia. The terminal and the hub around it will be developed near Aiud. The intermodal terminal will connect the city of Aiud to the rest of the world via the most important freight transport hub in the region - the Port of Constanţa. It will operate direct high-speed trains on Aiud - Constanţa route via a direct railway line.
Cottontex invests over EUR 500,000 in a renewable energy system
Cottontex, a sportswear manufacturer owning six factories in Romania, is investing over EUR 500,000 in a renewable energy system to cover 32% of its consumption. The project is being implemented by Restart Energy. 1,556 photovoltaic panels will be installed through this project, covering 5,000 square meters, on the roofs of factories in Timişoara and Lugoj. The photovoltaic generator will produce 20,250 MWh over the next 25 years, which means a EUR 4 million reduction in electricity costs.
FrieslandCampina Romania has finalized a EUR 3 million investment in its Cluj plant
Yesterday, in the presence of Prefect Irina Muntean, of Agriculture Ministry representatives, of senators, deputies, of the Dutch Embassy representatives, of APRIL president, and of NRCC, FrieslandCampina Romania officially launched a new production line at its plant in Cluj, for the Napolact cheese, according to a press release issued by the company. The investment amounted to about EUR 3 million and is part of Cluj plant’s expansion plan within the FrieslandCampina Cheese Centre of Excellence in Romania. From now on, the company will produce Napolact cheese slices and blocks in Cluj, both in conventional and organic versions, thus offering a complete range of cheese products. The new products will be available on all channels - modern trade, traditional trade, online trade platforms and HORECA.
Legislative 
President Klaus Iohannis has promulgated a new draft law
The economic activities carried out by individuals as PFAs, without employment contracts, shall be deemed as accumulated service and, where appropriate, as accumulated service in a certain specialization, provided average monthly incomes reach the level of the gross minimum wage for one year, according to a draft law promulgated by President Iohannis. The draft law had been adopted by Parliament, through the final vote of the Chamber of Deputies, a month ago.
Law through which Republic of Moldova receives aid from Romania has been promulgated
On Thursday, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law ratifying the Agreement between the Governments of Romania and of the Republic of Moldova regarding the implementation of the technical and financial assistance program based on EUR 100 million non-reimbursable financial aid granted by Romania to Moldova, signed in Chişinău, on 11 February 2022. The Agreement is the main instrument through which Romania will support Moldovan authorities’ efforts to achieve sustainable development, to continue implementing reforms and to join the European Union.
European News 
Romania is ready to give up Russian oil
Romania supports the European Commission’s decision to phase out oil and petroleum products imports from Russia, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu has said. Romania will not be caught by surprise by the elimination of Russian oil, which accounts for roughly 30% of the country’s consumption, Popescu added. Romania’s largest energy company OMV Petrom has already said that it has relinquished imports of Russian oil, and Popescu said the refineries would find oil from other sources such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia. Kazakhstan, for example, already covers about 40% of Romania’s market.
Social 
63% of Romanians are satisfied with the way EU has reacted to the war in Ukraine
A Flash Eurobarometer survey conducted in all European Union member states shows large support among EU citizens for the EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a press release of the European Commission Representation in Bucharest. Most Romanians thus believe that since the war started, the community bloc has shown solidarity (78%) and has been united (70%) and fast (64%) in its reaction. Moreover, 63% of Romanian respondents are satisfied with the way the European Union has reacted to the war in Ukraine (the European average is 52%) and 82% of them are satisfied with Romanian citizens’ reaction since the war started (above the 69% European average).
Students in Romania accumulated 4-6 month learning delays in the first two years of pandemic
Students in Romania accumulated 4-6 month learning delays in the first two years after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than the average for Europe and Central Asia, according to international consultancy firm McKinsey’s latest evaluation of the impact of the pandemic on education at global level. Romania thus records bigger delays than Western European countries and even than the Republic of Moldova, but similar to several Central and Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine or Poland, or several African countries.
A new round of Rabla programs will start next week
A new session of the "Rabla" and "Rabla Plus" car scrapping programs will start on 13 May. For the first time, they will target public institutions and administrative-territorial units as well, according to the president of the Environmental Fund Administration (AFM), Laurențiu-Adrian Neculaescu. He has added that another session of the "Rabla" program will be organized "sometime in September, again with quite substantial amounts".
Vulnerable people will receive RON 250 every two months
Vulnerable people will receive RON 250 every two months, a support measure included in the Government’s plan of measures. Social vouchers in electronic format will be granted, which can be used to purchase food and warm meals. The project has been created by the government and is supported through European funds. The vouchers are not considered taxable income; therefore no state social security or health insurance contributions are due for them.