Daily Newsletter - 7 March 2019


Macroeconomic News (3)

Non-food sales drove consumption in January

The retail sector's turnover increased by 6.6% in January, compared to the corresponding month of 2019. The upward trend was driven mainly by non-food sales, although food and fuels also performed well. The sector's turnover is the main indicator of private consumption.


Labor cost increase - Observations

Wages increased by 13.09% in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to the corresponding period of 2017, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute (INS). The growth rate dropped slightly from the 13.91% reported for the previous quarter, but it's still above the 12% set by the European Union's macroeconomic stability requirements.


EC reimbursed EUR 1.73 billion spent on local projects

The European Commission has reimbursed since the beginning of this year EUR 1.73 billion spent on Romanian projects. The funds were disbursed from the state budget through the direct payment programs of 2018, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


Financial News (3)

CSALB report

More than 2,000 bank clients have chosen not to go to court to solve their disputes with the banks over the past three years, resorting instead to the services of the CSALB (Alternative Dispute Resolution Center). Over 700 cases have been settled favorably for consumers and a total of EUR 1.4 million was obtained via negotiations for the benefit of consumers.


Radu Ghetea, CEC Bank: "For 15 years I've been calling people to voice ARB's position"

After hearings involving the directors of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) and the Competition Council, Senator Daniel Zamfir (ALDE) wrote on his Facebook page that Radu Gratian Ghetea, then President of the Romanian Banking Association (ARB) had called the Competition Council in 2013 to urge an end to the ROBOR manipulation investigation. Ghetea, who is also President of CEC Bank, countered the accusation saying that he had made numerous calls to many institutions over the 15 years he spent running ARB.


Financing for real estate projects up 43.8% in 2018

OTP Bank Romania reported a significant increase in the value of corporate real estate financing, which surged 43.8% in 2018, according to a press release. The appetite of real estate developers to launch new projects, especially office buildings, strengthened the industry's demand for financing. OTP Bank financed mainly residential and office projects last year.


Investment News (1)

Sibiu-Pitesti Highway construction contract awarded

The Minister of Transport, Razvan Cuc, announced on Wednesday that the tender for awarding the construction contract for the Boita-Sibiu section of the Sibiu-Pitesti Highway had a winner and that the papers could be signed as early as March 23. The materials regarding the fourth section of the highway were sent to ANAP for approval.


Politics (2)

President sends budget back to Parliament

President Klaus Iohannis announced yesterday that he would send the 2019 state budget bill back to the Parliament to be "corrected and improved". The Constitutional Court had previously announced its own decision to reject the president's challenge to the bill. However, while the court upheld the bill as constitutional, it also instructed the Parliament to start the budget caps approval procedure from scratch.


PNL leader blames PSD-ALDE coalition for lack of budget

Raluca Turcan, leader of the PNL group in the Chamber of Deputies, said the PSD-ALDE coalition bears sole responsibility for the fact that Romania lacks a state budget. "The Constitutional Court confirmed today that President Iohannis had could not have signed the budget bill because it is unconstitutional," said Turcan.


Social (2)

Environ and AHK Romania launched social responsibility campaign

The Environ Association and the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce (AHK Romania) teamed up with the National Battery Recycle System Association (SNRB) to run two social responsibility campaigns between March 5 and October 30. The campaign is called "Recycle Mit! - Challenge to Recycling" and it focuses on electric waste and spent batteries.


Number of Romanians who acquired citizenship of other EU states down significantly in 2017

Romanians remained in 2017 the leaders of the acquired citizenship index in the European Union. However, the number of Romanians who acquired the citizenship of other EU states dropped from 29,700 in 2017 to 25,000 in 2017.