Bad GDP figures from the eurozone on Wednesday but there’s a pleasant surprise from an unexpected quarter: Hungary’s economy contracted by only 0.9 percent in annual terms in the first three months.
Doesn’t sound like good news. But investors had been expecting a drop of as much as 1.4 per cent. With hopes of further improvement in the rest of 2013 buoying the Budapest market, the forint gained 1 per cent against the euro. Continue reading »
Slowly but surely, Romania is limbering up for its next sell-off of state-owned companies. Under IMF duress, the country may be about to shed some of its weighty burden of strategically important but failing enterprises.
On Friday, Reuters reported that Romania was launching the sale of a majority stake in CFR Marfa, the country’s rail freight operator. The starting price was set at 797.1m leu ($234m). Continue reading »
Romania averted recession in the last quarter of 2012, but can only look forward to a long and slow slog this year as external and internal problems weigh heavy.
GDP crept forwards at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.1 per cent from the third quarter, and an unadjusted 0.3 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2011, the National Statistics Institute (INS) announced on Wednesday, giving details of figures published last month. Continue reading »
It may be true that bond investors will buy any old junk in exchange for yields these days but they can at least, it seems, tell one issuer from another.
After Hungary raised $3.25bn on Wednesday, including $2bn in a 10-year bond yielding 5.4 per cent, it was Romania’s turn on Thursday, selling $1.5bn in a 10-year bond yielding 4.5 per cent. Continue reading »
The numbers are in and they’re not pretty.
Growth in central Europe is only at a sluggish 0.8 per cent – lower than any time since the depths of the economic crisis in 2009. Continue reading »
Romania’s economy may be recovering from a deep crisis, but it is not recovering quickly enough for the country’s main lender, BCR.
Austria’s Erste Group this week announced that it would take a €300m goodwill charge largely due to the problems besetting BCR. So even if the International Monetary Fund is reasonably content with Romania’s economic progress, a key foreign investor is far from happy. Continue reading »
The National Bank of Romania (BNR) kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5.25 per cent on Monday, as policy makers juggled with the conflicting demands of meeting inflation targets and stimulating a flailing economy.
The Romanian leu strenthened slightly against the euro, to 4.40 lei to the euro after opening at about 4.42. Continue reading »
Italian energy company ERG Group is at present predominately an oil and gas operation – but like many of its competitors, it wants a bigger piece of the green energy action. Perhaps emerging Europe is the place to look?
In its €500m 2013-15 investment plans announced on Wednesday, ERG outlined a shift in priorities towards growing its wind power activities. and it is seeking expansion in the Romanian and Bulgarian markets. Both offer attractive investment opportunities thanks to state support, but how long will that last? Continue reading »
Could the end to a grim year bring hope for beleaguered Romania? Markets have welcomed the ruling coalition’s landslide victory in Sunday’s election, hoping the country will win a new deal with the IMF and push through reforms in return. But have investors factored in the challenges ahead, or Romania’s fluid political landscape? Continue reading »
A thumping election victory looks set to put Romania’s ruling coalition back in power with a strong mandate, according the exit polls following Sunday’s vote.
The predicted landslide for the Social Liberal Union (USL) led by Prime Minister Victor Ponta is also a resounding defeat for his rival, President Traian Basescu. But while the result looks clear-cut, exactly what happens next is still not clear, as the wily Basescu may still have a few cards to play. Continue reading »
Most Romanians will be pleased to see the back of 2012, a year that began with a bitter winter of street protests against austerity and government heavy-handedness, then saw the toppling of two prime ministers, the failed impeachment of an unpopular president, and a constitutional crisis that brought international opprobrium.
But the year may have one more drama in store: on Sunday, Romanians vote in a general election. The governing coalition seems certain to win but Romania’s constitutional set-up means a rather different administration could take shape. Whatever government emerges will be under pressure to negotiate a new deal with the International Monetary Fund and restart reforms to trim the public sector. Continue reading »
Strong sales in emerging markets have propped up SAB Miller’s profits – again – despite the slowdown in the global economy and unfavourable foreign exchange and input costs.
The question is how long will it last? Continue reading »
The eurozone recession is biting hard in central Europe. According to flash data published on Thursday, third-quarter GDP fell in Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic compared with the previous three months, and rose marginally in Bulgaria.
The only country of the five reporting figures to do reasonably well is – ironically – eurozone member Slovakia, which posted quarter-on-quarter growth of 2.2 per cent. With Poland, which publishes its numbers on a different cycle, also slowing, the next few months look difficult for the region. Continue reading »
Romania slowly recovering from economic crisis
Romania: pulling out of a serious crisis fairly successfully, but with a long way to go to attain rude economic health. That’s the International Monetary Fund’s conclusion following its latest staff visit to the country.
“Following the severe downturn in 2008–09, the Romanian economy has undertaken a large adjustment to restore macroeconomic stability,” the statement said in its opening line.
After pausing briefly to praise its own role in supporting recovery through stand-by arrangements – as well as that of the EU and World Bank, the Fund continued: Continue reading »
A diversified economy with good potential for income growth and increased competitiveness, low government debt ratios and an improving fiscal situation. Not a bad report for one of the EU’s poorest countries, wracked in recent years by first economic and political crises.
These are the conclusions of the annual credit report on Romania published by Moody’s. says the country’s Baa3 government bond rating is supported by the fundamentals – which is reassuring even though Moody’s is keeping Romania on “negative” ratings watch. Continue reading »