Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania logs more than 1,100 coronavirus cases in 24 hours: Romania recorded 1,111 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 105,298 on Tuesday, September 15, according to the daily report. The number of coronavirus patients who died since the start of the pandemic went up to 4,236, with 51 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours. At the same time, 6,881 coronavirus patients were admitted to hospitals in the country, 460 of them to intensive care units. By September 15, 2,110,024 tests were carried out at a national level, 21,049 in the past 24 hours. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (214), followed by Ilfov and Suceava (53 each), Cluj (49), Iasi (46), Prahova and Bacau (43 each).
Political and regulatory
- Court unanimously rules out no Gov’t-Parliament conflict after censure motion tabled in extraordinary session: The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) unanimously ruled on Tuesday that there is no legal conflict of a constitutional nature between the government and Parliament following the tabling of a motion of censure in a special session, thus ruling against Prime Minister Ludovic Orban’s objection. PSD President Marcel Ciolacu announced on Tuesday that he will wait for the CCR’s motivation on the censure motion, after which he will take a decision on the opportunity to continue the endeavor. “We are not afraid of PSD wants to continue the procedure, they can go on with it”, PM Ludovic Orban said when asked about the CCR decision.
- Romanians from diaspora given two days to vote in general elections: Romanians living abroad will have two days, Saturday and Sunday, to express their vote in the general elections this year, according to a draft law amending the electoral law, passed by the Chamber of Deputies as the decision-making chamber.
- Romania extends state of alert by another 30 days: Romania’s Government has decided to extend the state of alert for another 30 days, starting with September 15. Most of the existing restrictions remain in force. However, the Government has allowed public events with the participation of up to 100 people. The protective mask remains mandatory in indoor spaces, at work, in public transport, and in crowded open areas. The Government decision also includes rules for conduct during the local elections on September 27. Meanwhile former CCR judge Augustin Zegrean warned Romanians cannot be denied the right to vote if they show up without a mask unless this is explicitly stated in a new law, and not a ministerial order which can be successfully challenged for infringing constitutional rights.
- Romania recalls 26 ambassadors: President Klaus Iohannis signed on Monday, September 14, the decrees to recall 14 ambassadors, adding to the 12 ambassadors recalled on September 11. Among those recalled on Monday are Dan Mihalache, Romania’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Adrian Cioroianu, the country’s delegate to UNESCO. Also on the September 14 list are Radu Octavian Dobre, the country’s ambassador to India, also accredited in the Maldives, Bangladesh, and Nepal; Ferdinand Nagy, the ambassador to Montenegro; Carmen Liliana Burlacu, the ambassador to the Czech Republic; Daniela Brînduşa Băzăvan, the ambassador to Morocco and Mauritania; Dana Manuela Constantinescu, the ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina; Viorel Stănilă, the ambassador to North Macedonia; Ion Gâlea, the ambassador to Bulgaria; Romeo Stanciu, the ambassador to Uzbekistan; Radu-Liviu Horumbă, the ambassador to Georgia; Adrian Kozjacski, the ambassador to Iran; Mircea Perpelea, the ambassador to Albania; and Cristian Istrate, the head of Romania’s permanent mission to the international organizations in Vienna.
- Romanian PM gives ambiguous hint on the future of the Offshore Law: Romanian prime minister Ludovic Orban, asked about the Offshore Law – seen by foreign oil companies as an obstacle for their investments in Romania’s Black Sea perimeters, avoided assuring that the bill would be amended according to the investors’ demands. “We have an extraction capacity that exceeds local consumption. The only periods when consumption can exceed production are in winter, but we have solutions even for such episodes. We have underground deposits, but not enough was invested in increasing the extraction capacity [from storage] during winter. This is why we need imports,” PM Orban said. Economica.net interpreted the message as a bargaining strategy.
- “Energy Efficient House” programme to be launched on Tuesday; 9,000 Romanians to receive 15,000 euros: About 9,000 Romanians can benefit from 15,000 euros each to make their homes energy efficient, through the “Energy Efficient House” programme, which begins on Tuesday, informs a press release of the Ministry of Environment sent to AGERPRES on Tuesday.
- Young farmers can access funds of over 38 million lei under PNDR 2020: Romanian young farmers can apply for funding under the National Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 (PNDR 2020) in a new one-month session from September 16, the Agency for Rural Investments Financing (AFIR ) reported on Tuesday in a press statement.
- PM Orban: The only sure thing is we won’t make any deal with PSD for gov’t: The PNL (National Liberal Party) will participate “on its own feet” in the parliamentary elections and will not make any kind of governmental agreement with PSD, the only potential partners being USR (Save Romania Union), PLUS (Liberty, Unity, Solidarity Party), and those from the European People’s Party, the Liberal chairman, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, stated on Tuesday. Meanwhile, ALDE (Alliance of Liberal and Democrats) leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu on Monday rejected the hypothesis according to which the leadership of this political party would run on the PSD (Social Democratic Party) lists, saying “it would lose its political identity” that way. PSD too announced it would make no political alliance for the parliamentary elections.
- Drumul Taberei metro line inaugurated by President Iohannis, PM Orban: Drumul Taberei-Eroilor metro line has opened today, September 15, five years later than scheduled. The official opening took place in the presence of President Klaus Iohannis and PM Ludovic Orban. The subway has become operational for passengers as of 14:00hrs. Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Tuesday that the commissioning of the Eroilor – Drumul Taberei subway section is very important to the city of Bucharest and all subsequent work will be carried out at a higher speed, noting that the infrastructure transport is utmost priority with the Government. The M5 subway line is a “big achievement”, which was close to becoming “a legend of delays,” President Klaus Iohannis said in turn. Access on the M5 metro line will be free on Tuesday, until 23:00, thus marking the beginning of Mobility Week at European level, announced the Minister of Transport, Lucian Bode. Opposition leader Marcel Ciolacu responded on Facebook to the allegations, saying that most of the work was done during PSD mandates. The inauguration was not without incidents given the electoral period, with a protester close to incumbent Bucharest Mayor shouting against President Iohannis, but was quickly escorted out by gendarmes. She had previously also crashed USR rallies.
- Marcel Ciolacu to advance the increase of pensions and bonuses to teachers on the parliament’s agenda: The president of PSD and of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu, announced that this week the project for increasing the pensions will be on the agenda. “I decided that on Monday, the Senate would introduce the bonus for teachers on the agenda. It is a bonus identical to that received by doctors, of 500 euros. On Tuesday, the project will be taken over in the Chamber of Deputies and will later be sent for promulgation. Let’s see what the president will do with this bill, if he refuses to promulgate it. On Wednesday, we will propose to the BPRs (joint standing bureaus of parliament, controlled by PSD) to discuss the budget rectification, and the increase of pensions should not be of just 14% but 40%, as provided by the law,” Marcel Ciolacu stated.
Impact on the economy
- CTP to host IKEA’s regional distribution center for SEE near Bucharest: CTP, the largest developer and operator of industrial and logistics parks in Romania and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), will complete this year the new IKEA distribution center for South-Eastern Europe (SEE), near Bucharest. Located in CTPark Bucharest West, the warehouse will be operated by the joint venture between IB Cargo and Maersk.
- S Immo resumes talks for Skanska’s office buildings in Bucharest: Austrian group S Immo, the owner of the Sun Plaza mall in Bucharest, has resumed negotiations with Skanska for the purchase of two office buildings within the Campus 6 complex. Skanska selected S Immo as a potential buyer of its Campus 6.2 and Campus 6.3 office buildings at the beginning of this year.
- Transgaz seeks EUR 74 mln loans for investments: Romania’s natural gas transport system operator Transgaz wants to borrow RON 360 million (EUR 74 mln) for 13 years to finance its investments. Last summer, the company borrowed another RON 300 mln (EUR 64 mln) for working capital.
- Gas price on RO market lags behind CEGH benchmark on subdued demand: Following the introduction of the gas release program, the futures prices for the natural gas prices on the Romanian Commodity Exchange fell below the central European benchmark set on the Austrian CEGH exchange. This trend will likely remain in place for the coming quarters, as the domestic market faces oversupply, according to Profit.ro.
- Romania’s public debt to GDP ratio rises by another 2pp in July: Romania’s public debt rose by RON 13.5 billion (EUR 2.8 bln, some 1.4% of GDP) in July due to the USD 3.3 billion Eurobond issue. Combined with a 2% decrease in the nominal GDP calculated over the rolling four quarters, this resulted in a 2pp rise in the public debt to GDP ratio from 40.2% at the end of June to 42.2% one month later.
- Fewer holidays abroad and thinner gains for foreign investors balance Romania’s CA gap: Romania’s current account (CA) balance widened to EUR 4.86 billion in January – July, one fifth (19.5%) less than in the same period last year. The CA gap in the rolling 12-month period eased to just over EUR 9 bln (4.5% of GDP), the lowest level since February 2019.
- Romania’s industrial output still 12% behind pre-crisis level: Romania’s seasonal and workday adjusted industrial production index advanced by another 3.3% in July compared to June, according to the National Statistics Institute (INS). Still, it lags 12% behind the level reached in February before the crisis. The industrial production contraction was abrupt in March-April: 37% for the whole industry and 42% for the manufacturing sector. The toughest hit industry was the automobile production (-30% year-on-year), and its recovery was robust but still incomplete (-14% year-on-year) in July. The car production probably returned to growth in August.
- BVB launches first ESG-focused initiative in Romania: The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) has launched the first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-focused initiative on the Romanian capital market, which aims to provide high-level ESG insights for BVB-listed companies, according to a press statement released on Tuesday.
- INS: Turnover in motor vehicles, motorcycles trade down 14.2pct in Jan-July: Romania’s volume of turnover in motor vehicles and motorcycles trade decreased, between January 1 and July 31, 2020, compared to the similar period of 2019, both as gross series, by 14.2 per cent, and as a series adjusted according to the number of business days and seasonality, by 13.6 per cent, according to data published on Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
- Techcelerator and Google launch AI accelerator for Romanian startups: Techcelerator and Google for Startups will launch the “Advancing AI” acceleration program for Romanian startups looking to build AI products and scale their businesses. The program aims to boost the Romanian AI ecosystem by supporting AI entrepreneurs with access to the dedicated AI resources provided by Google. Dan Oros, Head of Marketing, Google Romania, states: “We’re focusing on AI because we think it can solve the biggest problems for most users. AI is creating new opportunities and improving users’ lives. We believe the benefits of AI will be most impactful when everyone can access it. Therefore, we’re committed to helping ensure that AI is available to everyone and that users, developers, entrepreneurs, and enterprises can all access its benefits. We want to help startups build great AI products”.
- Romanian Lottery goes online: The Romanian Lottery joins the digital revolution and will open up for online players in what can be described as a digital revolution for this company founded in 1906. Currently, playing the Lottery in Romania is only possible through special terminals that validate the tickets. The Government has adopted a decision that changes the Romanian Lottery’s functioning, allowing the online sale of lottery tickets. Thus, players will be able to choose the lucky numbers online and pay by card.
- Romanian, Finnish companies remotely implement major Internet of Things projects amidst COVID-19 pandemic: Marking a milestone in Romania-Finland joint IT projects, Harsha Engineers, a Romanian subsidiary of India’s Harsha Engineers Ltd., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bearing cages, jointly with Zyfra, Finnish-Russian industrial digitalization leader, has successfully completed first project in the country to remotely implement an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) system.