Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania registers almost 9,500 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours: 9,489 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Romania in the past 24 hours, out of 37,136 tests. 174 Romanians infected with the novel coronavirus have died in the past 24 hours, while 1,149 are admitted in intensive care units. The infection rate has exceeded 5 per 1,000 in Bucharest again, while it nears the ceiling of 8/1,000 in Sibiu (7.78) and 7.3 in Cluj. Sălaj reports an incidence rate of 6.25/1,000 inhabitants and Timiș – 6.49. Alba – 5.81, Arad – 5.24, Bihor – 5.9, Brașov – 5.5. Bistrița Năsăud – 4.05, Constanta – 4.66, Ilfov – 4.71, Mureș – 4.87. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (1,114), Constanta (970), Cluj (586), Brasov (507), Ilfov (500), Timis (489), Sibiu (470), Mures (390) and Prahova (388). Quarantine was decided on Friday for the city of Sibiu (nearing an infection rate of 12), effective on Monday. The measure was announced by DSU head Raed Arafat.
Political and regulatory
- Romania prolongs state of alert by 30 days: Romania’s Government has adopted a new decision to prolong the state of alert for 30 days, starting November 14. No additional restrictions are introduced, prime minister Ludovic Orban said before the Government meeting, according to Mediafax. PM Orban admitted that the infection dynamic has not reached a plateau – and this is precisely why the Executive already passed some additional restrictions last week. The measures already in place should be enough to curb the infection rate, the PM argued. “The same health protection measures have been proposed that will be taken during the electoral process for the elections for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies on December 6,” DSU head Raed Arafat said.
- Romanian health expert says COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory: The vaccine against the new coronavirus will not be mandatory, as confidence in a vaccine must be built, not imposed, said Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s representative at the World Health Organization and a candidate of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) at the upcoming general elections. “This vaccine will certainly not be mandatory. Or let’s say these vaccines because we are talking about more than one,” Rafila said at local news channel Antena 3, News.ro reported. Alexandru Rafila also said that, according to some opinion polls, the rate of acceptability of such a vaccine stands at around 50%.
- No crowds at the National Day military parade this year: The official ceremonies due on December 1 at the Arch of Triumph Square in Bucharest on Romania’s National Day will take place this year without audience and will last an hour at the most, due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The National Committee for Emergency Situations has decided on Thursday to extend the state of alert in Romania and to approve the official ceremonies on the National Day in certain conditions: maximum 400 people marching at the parade and with no public attending.
- Iohannis to Romanians: Respect new set of measures: President Klaus Iohannis called on Romanians on Friday to comply with the new set of restrictive measures imposed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that these are expected to take effect in two to three weeks, according to AGERPRES. President Klaus Iohannis had a meeting on the National Relaunch and Resilience Plan with Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, Minister of Public Finance Florin Citu and Minister of European Funds Marcel Bolos.
- HealthMin: We will buy three million rapid tests, which will be distributed to emergency units: Minister of Health Nelu Tataru on Friday stated in Sfantu Gheorghe that Romania will buy three million rapid novel coronavirus tests in the next period, which will be distributed to the emergency units, according to AGERPRES. Nelu Tataru specified that, on Thursday evening, through an Emergency Ordinance, the authorities made operational these tests, which will be used in the emergency units to relieve congestion in these units.
- Orban: Gov’t supports Bucharest City Hall’s programs for ensuring healthy environment: The Government and the Ministry of Environment will support the projects of Bucharest City Hall on ensuring a healthy environment, so that the people of Bucharest have “a clean city”, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Friday, according to AGERPRES. “First of all, things for Bucharest will be done in an extremely serious, engaging partnership between the Ministry of Environment and Bucharest City Hall. Secondly, we will identify financial resources to be able to support all important projects and programs. Also, we will guarantee the adoption of decisions that, indeed, will really allow Bucharest City Hall to have a decisive role in the determined application of the environmental programs,” said Ludovic Orban.
- PM Orban on removal from office of Sibiu subprefect: Look at the infection rate: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Friday said, when asked about the reason behind the dismissal of the Sibiu subprefect, Rares Macrea, that the answer was the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate recorded in this county, according to AGERPRES. “Look at the infection rate and you will have your answer. He is the one who exercised the duties of prefect during the time when the actual prefect of Sibiu was infected with the novel coronavirus. And there was a clear request for his dismissal,” Ludovic Orban told a press conference held at the end of his working visit to the Ministry of Environment together with the General Mayor of the Capital City, Nicusor Dan.
- Orban: Second increase in child’s allowances – from January 1: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Thursday that the doubling of children’s allowances will be done taking into account the economic situation and the real revenues forecast to the state budget, that is in steps, by 20%, and the second increase will follow from January 1, according to AGERPRES.
- Orban: We haven’t closed markets, we have suspended for 30 days operation of indoor markets: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Thursday that the government, through the recently adopted restrictive measures, has not closed the markets, but has suspended for 30 days the operation of the ones indoor. The Prime Minister showed that the authorities have made all the necessary efforts in order to adapt to the new restriction.
- Iohannis: Period we are going through requires more than ever unity of the EU states: In his address at “Charlemagne Prize Europa Summit” video conference, President Klaus Iohannis Friday stressed the need for the unity of the EU Member States, consensus and overcoming discrepancies in the context of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to AGERPRES.
- The Minister of Health claims that ICU capacity has not been exceeded and that it will be increased: The Minister of Health, Nelu Tătaru, stated on Friday that the capacity of intensive care sections has not been exceeded and that it will be increased, and pointed out that an evaluation of the number of ICU beds needed by patients is carried out daily.
Impact on the economy
- Romanian tax agency’s anti-fraud inspectors monitor online Black Friday transactions: Romania’s tax collection body ANAF announced that its anti-fraud inspectors would monitor the online Black Friday transactions this weekend, as well as the tax obligations that will arise in this period of discounts, which lead to remarkably high sales volumes. In this context, the General Directorate for Tax Fraud reminded courier companies that they have a legal obligation to verify the real identity of the sellers with whom they conclude contracts for the delivery of goods. During an operation called “Mercury,” ANAF inspectors have been verifying customers of courier companies with the largest volume of deliveries paid “cash,” who failed to pay the related tax obligations. They checked both legal and natural persons involved in such activities. Between September 1 and November 6, the ANAF anti-fraud inspectors have completed checks on 233 taxpayers who carried out e-commerce activities. Following these inspections, they ordered fines and confiscations in the total amount of RON 608,157 (some EUR 125,000).
- 2020 Black Friday in Romania: Major increase in online payments: Online payments are on the rise during this year’s Black Friday sales campaign in Romania. According to the online payment platform PayU Romania, the volumes traded by 11:20 on Friday, November 13, reached almost RON 169 million (EUR 34.7 million), 62.9% more than last year. Also, the total number of registered transactions reached 212,635, up 61.64% compared to the reference period, local Agerpres reported. Almost 4,800 transactions were registered in just one minute (in the 7:44 – 7:45 interval). The average value of the shopping cart was RON 816 (full payment, up 43% than in the previous year) and RON 1,142 (payment by card in installments, +13%).
- Romania reports Q3 2020 growth of 5.6pct, up on quarterly basis, down y-o-y by 6pct: Romania reported an economic decrease by 6% in Q3 2020, y-o-y, but against the previous quarter there was an increase by 5.6%, according to trend data with the National Statistics Institute (INS) published on Friday, as reported by AGERPRES. According to the INS, between January 1 and September 30, 2020, Romania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased from the similar period of 2019 by 5.1% unadjusted and by 4.6% when seasonally adjusted. The GDP was higher in real terms by 5.6% in the third quarter as against the previous quarter.
- FinMin Citu: Numbers confirm Romanian economy recovery scenario in third quarter: Finance Minister Florin Citu, speaking at the government meeting on Thursday, said that the figures made available this week confirm the scenario of the economic recovery in the third quarter of this year. Florin Citu said that the average net income was 7.8 percent higher this September compared to the same period last year, and that the inflation rate has progressively fallen to a low of 2.1 percent from 2017 to date.
- BNR anticipates 2.1pct inflation at the end-2020, 2pct in Q3 2022: The National Bank of Romania (BNR) anticipates Romania’s consumer price index (CPI) inflation to fall to 2.1% at the end of this year, down 0.6 percentage points from the previous forecast, and 2% in Q3 2022, according to the bank’s November Inflation Report, as reported by AGERPRES.
- INS: Trade in motor vehicles, market services provided to population down Jan-Sep 2020: The volume of turnover in wholesale and retail trade, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles decreased in the first nine months of the year by two figures, both as gross series and as adjusted series, compared with the same period of 2019, according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Friday, as reported by AGERPRES.
- Electricity consumption in Romania declines 5.1pct, Jan.-Sept. 2020: Romania’s final electricity consumption reached 39.3 TWh in the first nine months of 2020, down 5.1% from the same period last year, according to a press statement released by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Friday, as reported by AGERPRES. Public lighting decreased by 8.1%, and household consumption increased by 3.6%.
- Raiffeisen Bank Romania reports 9% stronger 9M profit: Raiffeisen Bank, the Romanian subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International, reported a RON 583 million (EUR 120 mln) net profit in January-September, 9% higher compared to the same period in 2019. “Given the conditions – the lockdown in the second quarter, the decrease in operating income and the increase in the bank’s provisions – the fact that we report an increase in lending makes me very satisfied with what we have done as a team,” said Steven van Groningen, president & CEO of Raiffeisen Bank.
- Romanian nuclear power producer Nuclearelectrica posts 15% higher profit in first nine months: State-owned power producer Nuclearelectrica, which operates Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant, announced a net profit of RON 477 mln (EUR 98 mln) in the first nine months of this year, up 14.8% compared to the same period of 2019.
- EC investigates Romania’s acquisition of US armored vehicles: The European Commission (EC) has initiated a new pilot procedure against Romania targeting the acquisition of 227 “Piranha V” 8×8 armored vehicles worth EUR 868 million from the US company General Dynamics, News.ro reported. Romania’s Defense Ministry contracted the transporters directly from the US company in October 2017, by way of derogation from Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
- Finnish investor sells stake in major RO industrial group TeraPlast: Finnish investment fund KJK Balkan Holding reportedly carried out a private placement to sell part of its stake in the construction materials manufacturer TeraPlast Bistrita.
- Romania’s industry keeps recovering in September: Romania’s industrial production returned in September to the same level seen in the same month last year, while the manufacturing sector’s output increased marginally by 0.4% year-on-year. This was the best annual performance after 15 months of negative growth rates. For the entire third quarter, the industrial production contracted by 3.4% year-on-year, a visible improvement from the 26.7% yoy plunge seen in Q2.
- IFC Lends Support to UniCredit Leasing to Enhance SME and Climate Financing in Romania: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is lending its support to UniCredit Leasing Corporation (UCLC), Romania’s top leasing company, to increase access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and to provide more climate finance to its clients across the country. The €27.5 million investment will generate jobs, boost energy-efficiency measures, and help reduce carbon emissions.
- Software digitizing AI accounting attracts KPMG as a lead investor on SeedBlink: Cassa, an accounting software that contains elements of artificial intelligence and machine learning, attracted KPMG Romania, the local subsidiary of one of the largest audit and business consulting companies worldwide, as a lead investor in the financing round that is targeted on the equity crowdfunding platform SeedBlink.