Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania registers over 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, record daily death toll: 7,304 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Romania in the past 24 hours, out of 31,005 conducted tests. 177 people infected with the novel coronavirus have passed away in the past day, while 1,093 patients are in intensive care. The rate of infection with the novel coronavirus is close to 7 per 1,000 inhabitants in Sibiu county (6.89). Cluj county reports an infection rate of 6.56/1,000, followed by Salaj (6.47) and Timis (6.38). The incidence rate in the past 14 days in Bucharest is 5.11/1,000. Alba and Bihor counties also have infection rates over 5, Alba-5.43 and Bihor-5.64. Arad has an infection rate of 4.89, Brasov-4.58, Mures-4.47, while the index is beyond 3 in Bistrița Năsăud (3.72), Constanța (3.89), Covasna (3.22), Dâmbovița (3.04), Dolj (3.8), Hunedoara (3.04), Ilfov (3.42), Maramureș (3.71), Prahova (3.64), Satu Mare (3.03) and Vâlcea (3.07).
- Olt and Vrancea are the only counties in the green area, the rest being in the yellow one, with an infection rate higher than 1.5/1,000. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (854), Cluj (423), Olt (367), Constanta (361), Timis (344), Iasi (332), Sibiu (282), Prahova (256) and Ilfov (237).
Political and regulatory
- RO Govt. plans to extend the state of alert: The Government is working on the decision to extend the state of alert, prime minister Ludovic Orban said. “You know very well that the state of alert is introduced for 30 days and is extended through a Government decision for a period of maximum 30 days. We are working on the decision to extend the state of alert. As far as we are concerned, we do not wish to introduce additional restrictions. We want things to turn out well, the number of infections to drop, and, gradually, as this number decreases, to go back as much as possible to a normal activity,” Orban said, quoted by Agerpres. Asked about a potential quarantine in Bucharest, the PM said the decision would be taken by public health specialists. “It is a decision taken by public health specialists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists; I can’t speculate on a date,” he said.
- Deputies’ Chamber/ Markets in indoor spaces, fairs to be able to continue their activity during state of alert: The Deputies’ Chamber on Tuesday adopted the PSD (Social Democratic Party) modification according to which, during the state of alert, the agri-food markets and fairs, bazaars, mixed markets and mobile ones, will be able to continue their activity, while observing social distance and health protection measures, according to AGERPRES. The amendment was initiated by Marcel Ciolacu and Daniel Zamfir.
- GEO on the granting of paid days off for parents during the suspension of classes, adopted today by the Parliament: The Chamber of Deputies unanimously adopted on Tuesday the draft law on approving the emergency ordinance granting days off for parents to supervise children, if teaching activities that involve the actual presence of children in schools are limited or suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions. MEPs have extended this facility to parents whose children suffer from a chronic illness, even if classes are not suspended.
- Iohannis – evaluation meeting with PM, ministers, healthcare specialists: President Klaus Iohannis will hold an evaluation and presentation meeting on measures to manage the COVID-19 epidemic with Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, several ministers and healthcare representatives, at the Cotroceni Palace on Tuesday, according to AGERPRES. According to the Presidential Administration, the meeting scheduled for 15:00 hrs will be attended by the Minister of National Defence, Nicolae Ciuca, the Health Minister Nelu Tataru, the Head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, the Secretary of State in the Health Ministry Ionel Paul Oprea, Director General of the “Cantacuzino” National Institute for Medical-Military Research and Development, Florin Oancea, Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Adriana Pistol, Romania’s representative to the World Health Organization, Alexandru Rafila, Chief of the Medical Department in the Defence Ministry Dragos Marian Popescu, medical director of the Brasov Clinical Hospital of Infectious Diseases, Andreea Moldovan, vice-president of the National Society of Family Medicine, Dumitra Gindrovel.
- PM Orban to meet representatives of the “Ambulance” Federation of Trade Unions; HealthMin to participate: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Tuesday will have a meeting with the representatives of the “Ambulance” National Federation of Trade Unions, according to AGERPRES. The meeting will take place at the Victoria Palace and the Minister of Health, Nelu Tataru, will also be there, alongside the Minister of Finance, Florin Citu. In this context, the “Ambulance” National Federation of Trade Unions announced that it will suspend the protest that was supposed to take place at national level on November 10.
- MAE, NATO to host Alliance’s annual conference on arms control, on Tuesday: The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) and NATO will host on Tuesday, November 10, the Alliance’s annual conference on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in a videoconference format, according to AGERPRES. The meeting will be opened by Minister Bogdan Aurescu and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and both speeches can be watched online.
- UDMR requests Gov’t open schools, because decision to close them is wrong and unjustified: The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) requests the opening of schools, believing that the decision to close them is wrong, rushed and unjustified. UDMR asks the Government that in every school and kindergarten, where it’s possible to respect health and social distancing norms, “face to face” classes resume up to the 9th grade.
- PSD’s Ciolacu: The IMF will be here in January if this incompetent gov’t remains in office: Tax and fee hikes are in store if the Orban Government remains in office and “the IMF will be here in January,” House Speaker and leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marcel Ciolacu said on Monday during the Prime Minister’s Question Time in Parliament. Ciolacu said that the PSD parliamentary group has invited Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to Parliament for explanations. The Government is preparing the decision regarding the prolongation of the state of alert and does not desire to take measures that would institute other restrictions, said, on Monday, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, invited to the “Prime Minister’s Hour” debate. The Government has no obligation to present the State Budget Law and the State Social Insurance Budget Law in Parliament for debate, as it is an election year, but “we are in the legal proceedings for drawing up the state budget and the state social insurance budget.” Prime Minister Ludovic Orban added that budget revenues for the first 10 months of the year increased compared to the same period in 2019, in the midst of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The PM also pointed out that Romania ranks 18th in Europe in terms of the rate of infections with the novel coronavirus.
- Ciolos: Prime Minister not decided now, President better have less partisan opinions: The co-chair of the Save Romania Union – Party of Liberty, Unity and Solidarity (USR PLUS), Dacian Ciolos, stated on Monday that the Prime Minister of the Government that will result after the parliamentary elections is not decided now. The USR PLUS leader pointed out that the games in what regards the designation of the Prime Minister after the parliamentary elections are not already done. Ciolos pointed out that he does not rule out a collaboration, i.e. governing alongside PNL, but this will be decided after the elections.
Impact on the economy
- Lukoil wants to sell its stake in Romanian Black Sea perimeter: Russian oil company Lukoil wants to sell its 87.8% stake in the EX-3-Trident perimeter in Romania’s Black Sea offshore area, according to the CEO of Romanian state-owned gas producer Romgaz – which holds a minority 12.2% stake in the project. “We received this letter from Lukoil. We will have a discussion with them. We don’t know their reasons yet,” Volintiru told G4media.ro, speaking about a letter sent by the Russian group to oil companies potentially interested in the perimeter. Asked whether Romgaz could discuss with Lukoil taking over the 87.8% stake, the Romgaz CEO said that “theoretically it is possible to discuss.”
- SecGen Tanase: Intensifying Black Sea co-operation in the spirit of sustainable development, key to prosperous future: Intensifying co-operation among the countries in the Black Sea region in the spirit of sustainable development is the key to ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for citizens living in the region, according to Secretary General of the Romanian Government Antonel Tanase, as reported by AGERPRES. “The Black Sea region has enormous growth potential. New technologies that allow the exploitation of marine gas reserves or offshore energy production are just two examples of tools that will shape economic developments in the area in the coming years,” Tanase said in a keynote address to a virtual Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) high-level conference on Tuesday, organized by the Romanian Government’s Department for Sustainable Development. Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, holder of the Chairmanship-in-office of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization – BSEC, welcomed the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to this organization following the ratification, on October 27, by the North Macedonian Parliament, of the BSEC Charter and additional amendments thereto.
- EconMin Popescu: I invite companies in Romania to get involved in making schools energy efficient: The Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Milieu, Virgil Popescu, invited Romanian companies to choose a school to help it become more energy efficient, according to AGERPRES. He sent a message in this regard, on Tuesday, at the online conference Efficient Romania – A renovation wave across Europe. Popescu congratulated OMV Petrom for the initiative to get involved in school rehabilitation projects.
- GfK: Purchasing power in Romania, 60% below European average: Europeans have an average per capita purchasing power of EUR 13,894 in 2020, down by 5.3% compared to 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact, according to a study carried out by market research company GfK in 42 European countries. Romania ranks 31st in Europe in terms of purchasing power, just below Hungary.
- Romania’s trade deficit surges by 30% yoy in September: Romania’s trade deficit increased by 30% in September compared to the same month last year to EUR 1.54 billion. The exports edged down by 0.5% year-on-year to EUR 6.07 bln, marking a negative annual performance for the seventh month in a row. However, the imports strengthened by 4.4% yoy – the most robust performance since December 2019, to EUR 7.61 bln.
- Austria’s Immofinanz in talks to take over Bancorex office building in Bucharest: Austrian real estate investment fund Immofinanz is negotiating with Romanian lender BCR, part of the Austrian Erste Bank group, the acquisition of the Bucharest Financial Plaza office building, known as the “Bancorex” building in the center of Bucharest. Investment fund Revetas Capital is also among the bidders, and BCR still accepts offers.
- EC investigates planned transfer of public land to private investors in Bucharest: The European Commission (EC) has requested from the Romanian authorities information about the draft law that transfers 42 hectares of land in northern Bucharest from the state to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR), sources familiar with the matter told Libertatea daily. The Parliament approved the free transfer of this land, which has an estimated market value of EUR 300 million. Save Romania Union (USR) and UDMR have referred this bill to the Constitutional Court, which will discuss the matter in its November 11 meeting. Iulius Group issued a statement on Tuesday, November 10, saying that it has no capacity or involvement in the legislative endeavor that NEPI Rockcastle referred to the EC.
- Romanian FinMin confident in S&P’s decision, rules out IMF agreement: Romania’s GDP will contract by only 4% this year (+/-0.2pp), S&P will maintain the sovereign debt rating in the investment-grade area, and the country will need no agreement with the International Monetary Fund, finance minister Florin Citu said in a press conference before the Parliament meeting on budgetary and economic matters. He argued that two rating agencies (Moody’s, Fitch) maintained Romania’s sovereign rating above the junk region “only because there is a reliable Government in charge here.” Due to the investors’ confidence [in the Government], Romania also managed to finance the budget deficit at costs lower by almost 0.2 percentage points.
- Romanian PM says he is not aware of Exxon’s plans with its offshore perimeter: The US oil group ExxonMobil hasn’t informed the Romanian authorities about its intentions with the 50% stake it holds in the Neptun Deep offshore perimeter, prime minister Ludovic Orban said at B1 TV on November 8. “We are not sure, we will see what their decision will be. As far as we are concerned, [the natural gas transport system operator] Transgaz is contracting works for the construction of the pipeline that connects Podisor and Tuzla, to connect the [Neptun Deep] gas field to BRUA. We support all these projects. They are critical projects that bring important revenues to Romania, which provide Romania with an essential gas resource, which we intend to use,” said prime minister Orban, quoted by News.ro.
- COVID-19 pandemic to disrupt consumer holiday shopping plans, study says: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to online shopping and its long-term adoption in certain product categories and markets, according to the fifth edition of the EY Future Consumer Index. More than a third (37%) of the 14,467 consumers surveyed say the pandemic will keep impacting their lives for at least another year. This rises to 43% in Europe and 66% in Japan, while consumers in India (19%) and China (18%) are noticeably more optimistic. Globally, consumer respondents believe the way they shop will change over the long-term and 39% say they will shop more online for things they used to buy in stores. “With a less forecast revenue for the holiday seasons, retailers must carefully walk the line of profitability, while continuing their investments in touchless operations, personalized content and automated marketing campaigns. The natural next step is to enhance their loyalty programs from general “earn & burn” mechanisms to meaningful rewards for each individual / micro customer segments”, says Cristian Carstoiu, Partner, Consulting, EY Romania.
- ManpowerGroup Romania relocates to new office building: River Development, the developer of the integrated project The Light, leased to ManpowerGroup Romania an area of 1,063 sqm in the class A office building – The Light One. The space was leased under a long-term deal and the process was facilitated by Crosspoint Real Estate.
- Net average nominal salary earning, up 1.4% in Sept, to 3,321 lei: The net average nominal salary earning stood, in September, at 3,321 lei, increasing compared to the previous month by 46 lei (+1.4%), and the gross average nominal earning was 5,414 lei, higher by 77 lei (+1.4%), show the data published on Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), according to AGERPRES.
- Romania’s current absorption rate of EU cohesion policy funding at 38.9 pct: Romania has so far absorbed 8.8 billion euros worth of EU cohesion policy funding for the period 2014 – 2021, which stands for an absorption rate of 38.9 percent, Minister of European Funds Marcel Bolos told a press conference on Monday.
- State to support a total of 1.33 billion euros of Oltenia Energy Complex ‘s restructuring plan: The restructuring plan of the Oltenia Energy Complex aims for consistent support from the state in the coming years, alongside generous financing from the Modernization Fund, so that the company, now the second largest producer in Romania, can successfully complete this program. The company is one of the largest employers in the country, with over 12,500 employees, of which 4,000 will retire in the next four years, according to a statement by Economy Minister Virgil Popescu. The restructuring and decarbonization plan of the Oltenia Energy Complex involves a total state aid of about 1.33 billion euros, according to a presentation of the plan made public. Thus, in addition to the 252 million euros already paid by the state so that the company can pay its CO2 certificates for last year’s production, as a rescue aid, the company would also receive from state restructuring aid worth 1.076 billion euros. In addition, the company hopes to qualify to receive 711 million euros from the Modernization Fund, for submitted projects, which mainly focus on the construction of photovoltaic parks and the construction of gas-fired groups, to replace some of the coal groups, which will be closed.