Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania sees new record single-day jump in coronavirus cases: Romanian officials reported 1,713 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a record number for Romania since the start of the pandemic. Thus, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 107,011 on Wednesday, September 16, according to the official daily report. More than 2.13 million tests were performed in Romania so far, of which 25,991 in the last 24 hours. The death toll has risen to 4,285. A total of 49 deaths were reported in teh last 24 hours. The number of COVID-19 patients treated in intensive care units was 471 on Wednesday, September 16. In total, 6,854 coronavirus patients are hospitalized. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (211), followed by Cluj (99, partially due to an outbreak at a retirement home), Suceava (91), Prahova (84), Valcea (83), Iasi (71), Ilfov and Timis (65 each) and Constanta (60).
Political and regulatory
- Orban: I do not think new restrictions should be imposed: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Wednesday that it was not necessary to impose new restrictions in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, but a permanent action of dialogue, information and education, noting that people were not born with accessories such as a tie or high-heeled shoes, but have become accustomed to them.
- PM Orban: Public sector investments the highest of the past ten years: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Wednesday that, despite the crisis, the public sector investments were the highest of the past ten years, and the government has tried to steadily increase allocations for the modernization of infrastructure. He added that the government does not want a model of economic growth based on an “artificial stimulation of consumption”, because it “generated serious imbalances, serious setbacks of the Romanian economy,” but one based on massive public investment and support for private investment.
- TransMin Bode: I think Gara de Nord – Otopeni Airport railway line will be commissioned on December 12: Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications Lucian Bode says the Gara de Nord – Otopeni Airport railway line will be commissioned on December 12.
- ForMin Aurescu, US ambassador discuss Three Seas Initiative, Alexei Navalny case: Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu welcomed, on Tuesday, the US Ambassador in Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman, and they discussed, among other topics, about the Three Seas Initiative and about the case of Aleksei Navalnii, informs a press release to the MAE, sent to AGERPRES. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) has transferred, on Tuesday, from the 2020 Development and Humanitarian Assistance Budget, managed by MAE and the International Cooperation for Development Agency (RoAid), a voluntary financial contribution worth 100,000 euro to support the civil society and the independent press in Belarus.
- EconMin Popescu: Romanian gas has become cheaper, so exports to Hungary have resumed: Gas on the Romanian market have become cheaper as a result of the increase in domestic production, so that exports to Hungary have resumed, said on Tuesday the Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Environment, Virgil Popescu.
- Law allowing Romanians in the diaspora to vote for two days in December’s parliamentary elections, promulgated: President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday promulgated the law on the modification and supplementing of some normative acts in the electoral field that allows Romanians in the diaspora to vote for two days in December’s parliamentary elections.
- Nicusor Dan to file complaint on PSD MPs that denounced him with DNA: Deputy Nicusor Dan, the candidate supported by the Save Romania Union – Party of Liberty, Unity and Solidarity (USR PLUS) Alliance and National Liberal Party (PNL) for Bucharest’s City Hall, announced on Wednesday that he will file a criminal complaint for “slanderous denunciation” against the Social Democratic Party (PSD) MPs who notified the prosecutors in case of the recordings appeared in the public space. The candidate for the Bucharest’s City Hall added that Gabriela Firea will be sued in a civil court.
Impact on the economy
- Turnover from business services increased by 2.7%, Jan.- July, 2020: The first seven months of 2020 saw a 2.7% increase in turnover of market services rendered mainly to enterprises in Romania, unadjusted terms, compared with the similar period in 2019, in particular as a result of information and information technology services (+ 25.9%), according to data released on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
- Wholesale trade turnover rises 3.9% on July 31: Wholesale trade, excluding trade in motor vehicles and motorcycles, increased by almost 4%, as a gross series, in the first seven months of 2020, compared to the same period of last year, shows the National Institute of Statistics (INS) data published on Wednesday.
- INS: 18pct growth in volume of construction works in Jan-July: The total volume of construction works increased, both as a gross series and as adjusted series, in the first seven months of the year, compared to the same period in 2019, due to the increase registered in the capital repairs, maintenance and current repairs sector, show data published on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
- Govt. soft launches online platform for EUR 1 bln SME grants: Romania’s Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment launched on Tuesday, September 15, the online platform where local firms can apply for grants under the Government’s EUR 1 bln program. The platform (granturi.imm.gov.ro) is currently in a soft-launch phase. Company owners and managers in Romania can create a profile on the platform and add one or more companies for which they want to access grants. Companies that apply for the grants (microenterprises, individual businesses and SMEs) will be served in the order in which they apply, which is why it would be important that the platform works for everyone when the process starts. The ministry didn’t mention when it will open the application process.
- P3 Romania “cautiously optimistic” about activity in H2: P3 Logistic Parks, the Romanian subsidiary of Czech group P3, leased 58,637 sqm of logistic and office spaces in the first half (H1) of 2020. The company remains “cautiously optimistic” about its activity in the second half of the year.
- Romanian AI chatbot developer enters Australasia market: Romanian startup DRUID AI Chatbots has entered into a partnership with Microelectronic Group, one of the leading suppliers of software solutions, services and business equipment to the banking, enterprise and government markets in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific Islands, to offer its business process automation solutions in large digital transformation projects across Australasia region.
- Romania, unlikely to sell 5G licenses this year: Romania can’t award the first 5G licenses before the end of this year, not even if the Government publishes in the Official Journal the documents that the telecom regulatory body ANCOM has been waiting for to initiate the auction, ANCOM deputy head Eduard Lovin said at a conference. Under the budget revision drafted by the Finance Ministry in August, the Government relies on RON 2.5 billion (EUR 515 million, 0.25% of GDP) revenues from the telecom groups for the 5G licenses.
- Fondul Proprietatea sells 2.5% of OMV Petrom: Fondul Proprietatea (FP), the biggest investment fund in Romania, put up for sale a minimum of 1.4 billion shares in OMV Petrom (SNP), the biggest local listed company. The stake represents 2.47% of the company’s capital and has a market value of over RON 500 mln (EUR 105 mln), based on Tuesday’s the closing price, but the transaction is likely to close at a discount. Fondul Proprietatea needs cash to finance its share buyback programs aimed at reducing the gap between the fund’s share price and the net asset value per share, which is currently close to 19%. The fund manager’s options for getting cash are rather limited, given that unlisted companies make 70% of the fund’s portfolio. As the listing of power producer Hidroelectrica will probably be postponed for another two years, Fondul Proprietatea will continue to rely on OMV Petrom for quick cash. Still, the fund has agreed to a 180-day lock-up period in which it will not sell any OMV Petrom shares after this transaction.
- V-shaped recovery of consumption, less likely in Europe and in Romania – study: The return of retail sales created the false image of a total return of consumption in a “V” shape, claims Euler Hermes, part of the Allianz group. In reality, according to the company’s specialists, total consumption is still far from recovering and is even in danger of re-entering a downward slope, given the indicators of confidence in the economy, which still register very low levels. “In Romania (…) we can expect a slower recovery trend, amid limited mobility and a consumer confidence index unlikely to exceed 80% by 2020. Rising unemployment although not far from 5%, but with the potential to rise in the first part of next year, the trend towards a more conservative management of household income and the expected wave of insolvencies in early 2021 are also likely to contribute negatively to the willingness for consumption,” said Mihai Chipirliu, CFA, Risk Romania Director at Euler Hermes.