News

Daily Newsletter - 3 December 2021

Summary

Macroeconomic (4)
Financial (3)
Investment (4)
Legislative (2)
European News (1)
Social (2)
Macroeconomic 
OTP Bank estimates that Romanian economy will grow by 7.2% this year
Romania’s economic growth slowed down considerably in Q3 of 2021, and a slight recession is possible in Q4/2021, as economy has exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic situation continues to deteriorate and the rising inflation has started eroding people’s incomes, according to OTP Bank analysts. Moreover, the OTP specialists have transmitted that Romanian economy grew by 7.2% in Q3/2021, compared to the same period of the previous year, an evolution below economic analysts’ expectations.
Romania ranks third in EU in terms of increase in industrial producer prices
Industrial producer prices rose by 5% in the European Union and by 5.4% in the euro area in October 2021 compared to September 2021, almost double than the advance of 2.7% and 2.8% respectively recorded in September compared to August, according to data published by Eurostat on Thursday. The data also indicates that industrial producer prices grew in most EU member states month-on-month, but the biggest increases were recorded in Belgium (11.2%), Italy (8.4%) and Romania (8.6%, after a 4.1% advance in September). The only member states where industrial producer prices decreased month-on-month were Estonia (minus 2.1%), Luxembourg (minus 0.3%) and Sweden (minus 0.2%).
Romania recorded the highest national VAT compliance gap in EU in 2019, of 34.9%
The overall VAT Gap in the European Union member states decreased by around EUR 7 billion in 2019, compared to 2018, but, in Romania, it grew from RON 29.1 billion in 2018 to RON 35.1 billion in 2019, according to a new report published by the European Commission. The same document also indicates that in 2019, Romania recorded the highest national VAT compliance gap, with 34.9% of VAT revenues going missing in 2019 (compared to 32.7% in 2018), followed by Greece (25.8%) and Malta (23.5%). The smallest gaps were observed in Croatia (1.0%), Sweden (1.4%), and Cyprus (2.7%). The European Commission points out that, in relative terms, the VAT Gap in Romania was the largest in the EU over the entire period 2015-2019.
Ministry of Finance plans to borrow RON 3.4 billion from the domestic market in December
The Ministry of Finance plans to borrow RON 3.4 billion from the domestic market in December, after having attracted RON 3.6 billion in November, under the plan established at the beginning of the month, which targeted RON 4.4 billion loans. The state’s financing costs have exploded in the past few weeks amid the accelerating inflation, with the interest rate on ten-year government bonds (RO10Y) - a barometer for the cost of financing in economy – having increased to 5.53%, the highest level of the past eight years.
Financial 
Patria Bank has implemented an instant payments service
Patria Bank, an institution listed on Bucharest Stock Exchange, has become the sixth bank in the local community of banks to have added instant payments to its portfolio of services, along with Banca Transilvania, CEC Bank, Libra Internet Bank, Banca Comercială Română and Vista Bank. The payments processing infrastructure was developed by Transfond, the operator of the interbank payments Automated Clearing House, in collaboration with commercial banks, the Romanian Association of Banks, which is the administrator of the national payments scheme and the National Bank of Romania (NBR), which is the supervisor of payment schemes.
UniCredit is considering cutting another 3,000 jobs
Italian banking group UniCredit SpA is considering cutting around 3,000 jobs through voluntary departures under a new strategic plan the Italian lender is due to present on 9 December, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The new job cuts will add to the approximately 3,900 jobs that need to be eliminated in accordance with the previous strategic plan that has already been agreed upon with unions and employees. UniCredit, which operates in 13 markets including Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe, employs 87,102 staff globally, of whom around 36,000 are in Italy. The cuts would amount to 3.4% of UniCredit’s overall workforce.
NBR’s foreign exchange reserves decreased by EUR 560 million million in November
The National Bank of Romania (NBR)’s foreign exchange reserves decreased to EUR 39.2 billion in November, compared to October, following EUR 2.04 billion worth of inflows and EUR 2.6 billion worth of outflows. The EUR 2.04 billion worth of inflows represented changes in credit institutions’ foreign currency-denominated required reserves with the Romanian National Bank, inflows into the Ministry of Finance’s accounts, inflows into the European Commission’s account and other, according to data transmitted by NBR on Thursday, 2 December.
Investment 
Polish fashion retailer Sinsay will open two stores in Romania
Polish fashion retailer Sinsay, part of the LPP group, will open two stores in the Family Market shopping centers which Iulius Group is developing in Iași County, currently under construction. The two stores will have about 1,000 square meters each and will be inaugurated in the second quarter of 2022. The investment in the two stores will amount to EUR 17 million.
Altex has opened a 1,000 square meter store with electronic labels in Ploiești
Altex, one of the most important retailers on the Romanian electro-IT market, has opened its third store in Ploiești and the fourth one in Prahova County, in Prahova Value Center shopping center. The new store has an area of more than 1,000 square meters and a stock of over 4,000 products in categories such as electronic and electrical household appliances, IT&multimedia, gaming and bricolage.
Canadian businessman Michael Topolinski is to invest EUR 10 million for finalizing a block of flats
Canadian businessman Michael Topolinski is to invest EUR 10 million, from his own liquidity reserves, for finalizing a block of 280 apartments whose construction was suspended by brothers Robert and Ionuț Negoiță. The company InteRo Property Development, indirectly owned by the Topolinski family, bought the land and the abandoned construction from Piraeus Leasing, in March. Topolinski has renamed the block New Confort City and has divided it into four different buildings, with 70 apartments each.
McDonald’s has expanded with a new restaurant
Premier Restaurants Romania, the operator of McDonald’s restaurant chain in Romania, keeps expanding on the local market by opening a new restaurant in Brăila, inside Brăila Mall shopping center. The network has thus reached 91 restaurants at national level following the inauguration of the new unit. The total investment for the restaurant in Brăila amounts to over RON 3 million.
Legislative 
President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the amendments and completions to Law no. 203/2018
On Thursday, 2 December, President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the amendments and completions to Law no. 203/2018 on measures to streamline the payment of fines, which stipulates, among other things, that the report on their payment shall no longer have to be sent to the Police. During the debates in the Chamber of Deputies, the decision-making body in the case of this law, the UDMR deputy Benedek Zacharie, the initiator, indicated that citizens would no longer have to send the report to the Police to prove that they had paid the fines.
USR has submitted a legislative initiative that tightens environmental legislation
Senator Dragoş Popescu, from Save Romania Union (USR), has submitted a legislative initiative that tightens environmental legislation. According to the initiative, burying or burning waste is a crime and shall be punished with six months to three years in prison or with a fine unless it is done by economic operators authorized to carry out waste recovery and disposal activities.
European News 
Romania sent a special flight to Morocco to repatriate around 180 Romanians
Romania sent a special flight to Morocco on Thursday, 2 December, to repatriate around 180 Romanians and other EU citizens, the country’s foreign ministry has announced. By Wednesday afternoon, 127 Romanian citizens had asked to return to Romania, the ministry said. The government of Morocco banned flights for two weeks in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, so dozens of tourists have no other way to get back home. The flight will also provide passage to 53 EU citizens return to Europe, following coordination between Romania’s embassy and the diplomatic missions of other EU states in Rabat, the foreign ministry said in a news release.
Social 
Romania has received 120 oxygen concentrators from South Korea
According to the Department for Emergency Situations, 120 oxygen concentrators, medical equipment used in treating Covid-19 patients, were offered to the Romanian state by South Korea on Thursday, 2 December, in order to help Romanian authorities limit the effects of SARS-CoV-2. Kim Young Ho, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Romania, stated that this donation would not have been possible without the close ties existing between the two countries.
144,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have arrived in Romania
The National Committee for the Coordination of Anti-Covid-19 Vaccination Activities (CNCAV) has announced that a total of 144,000 doses of Janssen vaccine arrived at "Cantacuzino" National Institute for Medical-Military Research and Development on Thursday, 2 December. According to CNCAV, the transport is ensured by the manufacturing company, and the vaccine doses were brought to Bucharest by land. The doses were stored at the National Storage Center, and will be distributed to the existing regional centers at national level in the following period.