• Another day with over 3,000 cases of COVID-19 infections in Romania. Record high number of patients in intensive care: 3,109 new cases of COVID-19 infections have been reported in Romania in the past 24 hours, out of 26,718 conducted tests, being the fourth day with the highest number of daily infections since the debut of the pandemic. 68 patients infected with the novel coronavirus have died in the past 24 hours, while 651 patients are in intensive care, which is a record high in Romania so far. Bucharest ranks first with the highest number of daily Covid infections – 499. Other counties with high number of cases in the past 24 hours are: Cluj – 172, Bacău – 156, Prahova – 122, Mureș – 115, Neamț – 115, Iași – 113, Timiș – 111, Alba – 101, Harghita – 94, Suceava – 90, Brașov – 89, Ilfov – 84, Teleorman – 83. Counties exceeding the infection ceiling of 1.5 per 1,000 residents over the last 14 days are: Bucharest – 2.69; Alba – 2.53; Vâlcea -2.22; Iasi – 2.07; Bacau – 2.12; Neamț – 2.01; Teleorman – 1.87; Sălaj – 1.89; Sibiu – 1.82; Caras-Severin – 1.70; Cluj – 1.80; Brașov – 1.58; Timiș – 1.64; Vaslui – 1.57; Ilfov – 1.53; Harghita – 1.50; and Prahova – 1.58.
  • INSP: Bucharest exceeds rate of 3 infections per 1,000 inhabitants, red scenario considered: Bucharest might enter the red scenario, after the National Public Health Institute (INSP) had announced on Tuesday that the incidence of coronavirus cases in the past 14 days had exceeded 3.11 per 1,000 inhabitants. In this case, schools in Bucharest might close down and classes might take place exclusively online for a period of time. INSP has announced today that 35.4% of the total cases of COVID-19 nationwide were reported in Bucharest, Iasi, Bacau, Timis and Cluj during the week October 5-October 11. The data published by INSP cover the last two weeks.
    • Comment: The strategic communication group has announced today that the infection rate for Bucharest is 2.69 (at the official population figure of 2.15 million) , which seems to contradict INSP’s data, a possible explanation being that localized outbreaks (i.e. retirement homes and so on) were excluded so as to buy more time (2-3 days) to decide on restrictions. The subject remains heated for the local authorities, who are asked to clear this confusion, with the Bucharest Prefect claiming that INSP has made a mistake which it has to correct and that measures will be taken after exceeding 3.4. The solution might fall in the middle, either by invoking the fact that the unofficial population of Bucharest exceeds the official 2.15 million, or by also taking into account the population of Bucharest’s suburb Ilvof as an “extended Bucharest region”, given that the previous consensus was that individual restrictions, per districts/neighborhoods, cannot be imposed. Minister of Education Monica Anisie, who was called in a meeting at the Prefect’s Office said she requested the meeting to consider all options and prepare for the possibility of the red scenario (online education), pointing out that the official figure is 2.69. Meanwhile, PM Ludovic Orban has called for a meeting at the Government from 16:00 with DSU head Raed Arafat, HealthMin. Nelu Tataru and Interior Minister Marcel Vela.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • President Iohannis to attend European Council meeting in Brussels, Oct. 15-16: President Klaus Iohannis will be attending a European Council meeting in Brussels October 15-16, according to AGERPRES. The summit’s agenda includes the COVID-19 pandemic, future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the fight against climate change. At the same time, the European leaders will look into the external relations of the European Union.
  • Chamber vacates secretary position after incumbent Vasilescu’s resignation: On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies vacated a position of secretary after the resignation of incumbent Olguta Vasilescu, by a vote of 167 to one abstention, according to Agerpres.
  • PSD leader Ciolacu self-isolates after getting tested for COVID, waiting for result (sources): PSD (Social Democratic Party) leader Marcel Ciolacu got tested for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating, while waiting for the result, according to Agerpres. According to some sources from the party, Ciolacu decided to get tested after several of his party colleagues were found to be infected with the novel coronavirus, among them Simona Bucura Oprescu and Radu Moldovan. The secretary general of PSD, Paul Stanescu, also got tested and self-isolated.
  • PM Orban: Regarding Remdesivir, there is political decision, problem is to be companies with production capacity: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday that there is a political decision on the Remdesivir medicine, but stressed that the problem is that there must be companies that have the capacity to introduce this medicine into production.
  • First control report on Bucharest City Hall sent to anti-graft agency: A first complete report on the Bucharest City Hall (PMB) has already been sent to the National-Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), Finance Minister Florin Citu wrote on Facebook on Monday evening, according to Agerpres. “Let it be very clear to everyone: the first report completed on PMB has already been sent to DNA,” Citu said.
  • Minister Aurescu speaks, in Luxembourg, about necessity to accomplish a “veritable strategy” regarding EU-Russia relations: Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu spoke, on Monday, at the reunion of the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU in Luxembourg, about the “necessity to accomplish a veritable strategy regarding EU – Russia relations,” shows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) in a release sent to AGERPRES.
  • Gabriela Firea, Traian Băsescu, Mihail Neamțu and 6 other elected members withdrew from the General Council: Gabriela Firea (PSD), Traian Băsescu (PMP), Mihail Neamțu (PMP), Petre Roman (PSD), Cornel Dinu (PSD), Daniel Pancu (PMP) and Sorin Ilieșiu (PSD) withdrew from the General Council of Bucharest, according to data obtained by HotNews.ro. In total, 9 general councilors, 4 from PMP and 5 from PSD, submitted a withdrawal request to the secretariat of the General Council. Thus, the first meeting of the CGMB, the investment meeting, which will most likely take place on Friday, will take place with 46 local councilors, with the remaining 9 to be validated at the next meeting. At the moment, PNL-USR-PLUS have 29 councilors together, so a fragile majority. The two parties do not have a qualified majority, so without the PSD votes on projects that require two-thirds majority will not pass, even if the PMP will vote in favor. With an absolute majority, the City Hall passes the budget, the organizational chart, urban projects, infrastructure projects; with two-thirds it passes projects related to the municipality’s property, such as the sale/purchase of lands, expropriations, giving into administration to other districts of municipal lands, streets, institutions.

Impact on the economy

  • Black Friday in Romania, two weeks earlier than Black Friday in the US this year: The Black Friday shopping event in Romania will take place on Friday, November 13, this year, two weeks earlier than the Black Friday in the US, which takes place on November 27. The Black Friday date in Romania was announced by eMAG, the biggest local online retailer, which is also the local retailer that imported this international event to the local market in 2011.
  • Investments of 30bn lei in Romania in first nine months of 2020: The value of investments registered in Romania in the first nine months of the year is 30 billion lei, being the only country in the European Union (EU) where investments had a positive contribution to GDP dynamics in the first half of 2020, Minister of Public Finance Florin Citu wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, according to Agerpres.
  • AgriMin: Over 1mln ha of corn, sunflower affected by drought: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Adrian Oros said on Monday evening that over one million hectares of corn and sunflower have been affected by the extreme and strong pedological drought this year, but solutions are being sought to compensate the farmers who sowed in the spring, according to Agerpres.
  • FinMin Citu: We have the lowest inflation rate since October 2017: Romania records the smallest inflation rate since October 2017 until now, said, on Monday, the Minister of Public Finance, Florin Citu, referring to the data presented by the National Institute for Statistics.
  • Transactions on Bucharest Stock Exchange triple amid FTSE Russel’s upgrade: The value of equity trading on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) exceeded EUR 0.5 billion in September this year, up by 260% compared to August 2020 and September last year. FTSE Russell’s decision to upgrade Romania to Emerging Market status, as of September 21, pushed up the liquidity, BVB said in a statement.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce sets heavy antidumping duty on aluminum imports from Romania: The U.S. Department of Commerce has set an antidumping duty of 83.94% on aluminum imports from Romanian producer Alro Slatina, according to a preliminary determination published on October 6.
  • Colliers RO: there is still room for growth in industrial and logistic market: Romania’s modern industrial and logistic facilities reached 4.72 million square meters (sqm) at the end of June, up by 5% on the year. This accounts for over 9% of the stock of such spaces in the biggest 17 CEE economies. Although the stock could exceed 5 mln sqm by the end of 2020, there is still significant room for growth, according to Colliers International’s exCEEding Borders report.
  • Former McDonald’s Romania CEO sells his stake in the company in “eight-digit” deal: Romanian executive and entrepreneur Daniel Boaje has sold his 10% stake in the company that operates the McDonald’s fast food franchise in Romania, according to local law firm NNDKP, which assisted him in this deal. “The value of the transaction is confidential, but estimates based on market value place it in the eight-digit range,” NNDKP said in a press release.
  • Romanian dairy producer to issue EUR 2-3 mln bonds: Romanian dairy producer Agroserv Mariuta, present on the market with the ‘Laptaria cu Caimac’ brand, plans to issue bonds worth EUR 2-3 million and list them on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, Profit.ro reported. The company ponders expanding abroad in Spain, Italy, and Luxembourg, for the beginning.