The average index of world food prices was, in nominal terms, 143.7 points in 2022, a new record high, according to the latest report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), up by 14.3% year-on-year. In real terms, the global average Food Price Index grew by 12.4% year-on-year, to 140.6 points, also a new record. The previous record, of 137.4 points, had been set in 1974.
The World Bank is concerned that further adverse shocks could push the global economy into recession in 2023, with small states especially vulnerable. The warning is contained in an abstract for the bi-annual "Global Economic Prospects" report due for release on Tuesday, 10 January. Even without another crisis, global growth this year "is expected to decelerate sharply, reflecting synchronous policy tightening aimed at containing very high inflation, worsening financial conditions, and continued disruptions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, " the World Bank said.
Retail trade volume in the European Union fell by 2.4% in November compared to the same month of 2021, while in the euro area the decline was 2.8%, according to data published by Eurostat. Among the EU Member States for which data are available, the biggest year-on-year increases in retail trade volumes in November were recorded in Latvia (10.7%), Slovenia (97.5%), Poland (5.7%), Malta (5.5%), Bulgaria (4.7%) and Romania (4.4%), while the most significant decreases were recorded in Denmark (-7.4%), Belgium (-6%) and Germany (-5.7%).
Economic sentiment in the euro area improved in December for the first time since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, amid rising optimism in all sectors and declining inflationary expectations. According to data published by the European Commission on Friday, 6 January, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) grew to 95.8 points in December, from 94 points the previous month. The figure communicated by the EC differs from analysts’ forecasts, who had expected an advance of up to 95 points. It is the first increase since the record high of 114 points in February, the month when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Omniasig, Generali and Aon Romania have been fined RON 15.1 million by the Competition Council after having agreed to share large clients in four auctions organized by them. Generali and Omniasig insurance companies, as well as insurance broker Aon Romania, admitted to having violated the Competition Law, which led to a reduction of the fines. In this case, the biggest fine, of RON 8.2 million, was imposed on Generali S.p.A. UK Branch, Generali’s UK subsidiary, followed by Omniasig, with RON 4.7 million, Generali Romania with a RON 1.9 million fine and Aon Romania, with RON 343,731.
ING Bank, the local subsidiary of the Dutch group bearing the same name, obtained a RON 784 million net profit after the first nine months of 2022, up by 25% year-on-year, while the bank’s revenues grew by 14%, to RON 1.95 billion. The advance of ING Bank’s gain was influenced by the increase in lending, but also by the lower provisioning costs. The bank has also reported that its gross loans portfolio rose by 13% compared to the first nine months of 2021, to RON 36.4 billion. The cost of provisions decreased by 29% in the first 9 months/2022, to RON 125 million.
Simona Andrei, CEC Bank’s Chief Financial Officer, received the National Bank of Romania (NBR)’s approval to become the bank’s Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors the end of 2021. She has 20 years of professional experience, including almost 15 years within CEC Bank. For 7 years she was the Director of the Financial Department, for 8 years she has been the Chief Financial Officer, and from this position, since May 2018, she has been coordinating the activity of the Financial Department and the Accounting Department.
Marco Hoessl, CEO of Kaufland Romania and the Republic of Moldova, has stated that the company will open at least ten new stores and will modernize ten more in 2023, thus maintaining the pace of expansion of the past three years. The accelerated expansion will continue in 2024 and 2025, as the hypermarkets chain aims to reach 200 stores on the local market. Its network currently consists of 160 units.
The three-star Capitol hotel in the center of Braşov, controlled by the company Aro-Palace, will be taken over by an international brand, according to Călin Ile, chairman of Aro-Palace’s Board of Directors. In order to be able to operate under the umbrella of an international hotel chain, Capitol hotel needs to undergo a renovation and modernization process. The value of the investment will be around EUR 10 million.
German automotive group Mercedes-Benz has announced that it is poised to invest billions of euros to build around 10,000 fast charging points for electric vehicles in Europe, North America and China by 2030, Reuters reports. The carmaker will commence construction in North America this year, targeting 2,500 charging points in 400 locations across most US states and Canada by 2027, it said at CES car show in Las Vegas which runs during the period 5-8 January.
On Friday, 6 January, President Klaus Iohannis signed the decree promulgating the law approving Government Emergency Ordinance 92/2021 on the waste regime. The law aims to transpose into the national legislation the Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives, published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 22 November 2008.
Foreign citizens and stateless persons coming from Ukraine and entering the country through the border crossing points between Ukraine and Romania or through the border crossing points between the Republic of Moldova and Romania will benefit, in 2023, from free transport by rail and road only for a period of 5 calendar days from their entry into Romania, according to a draft Government Decision put up for public consultation by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MTI). The free travel is granted for journeys made from the borders with Ukraine and Moldova to localities on Romania’s territory or towards the exit to other countries.
The European Commission on Friday (6 January) adopted a proposal to give suppliers an extra four years to re-certify medical devices, to circumvent the risk of shortages. There are over 500,000 types of medical devices on the EU market, from hip replacements to sticking plasters, all covered by the Medical Devices Regulation (MDR). The MDR entered into force in 2017, and into application in May 2021, replacing the two-decade-old former directive. In accordance with the regulation, all medical devices produced in Europe had to be re-certified by 26 May 2024.
In 2022, the Department for the Relation with Romanians Abroad (DRP) carried out several programs and actions aimed at strengthening ties with Romanians abroad, at supporting and promoting ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity, at preserving cultural heritage and at preserving traditions and customs among people belonging to communities abroad. Amid the serious deterioration of the security situation in Ukraine, DRP launched, at the beginning of 2022, the Supporting Romanian Communities in Ukraine Grants Program, targeting the purchase and donation of essential goods and materials to Romanians in Transcarpathia, Chernivtsi and Odessa regions.
Minister of Investments and European Projects Marcel Boloş has announced that the ministry he coordinates has over EUR 200 million financing contracts for all the necessary expenditure on masks and disinfectants in educational units. He has also indicated that 2,000 family medical practices are among the investment priorities. These will be equipped with the necessary infrastructure and facilities to help patients infected with flu.