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Country Report Romania August 2017

Country Report Romania August 2017

  • August 2017
  • ID: 1698003
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

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Outlook for 2017-21



  • The current left-of-centre coalition government is likely to serve a full term, barring any further serious incidents (such as the 2015 Colectiv nightclub fire). Political risks remain at moderate levels.
  • Demonstrations since early 2017 against the government's attempts to weaken anti-corruption efforts have revealed the level of public dissatisfaction with the political class and support for the fight against corruption.
  • Tensions are likely between the Social Democratic Party (PSD)-Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) government on one side and an increasingly independent judiciary and the president, Klaus Iohannis, on the other.
  • The PSD will pursue an "anti-austerity" programme involving continued tax cuts as well as increases in public-sector wages and welfare benefits. These measures will support robust private consumption growth.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts a budget deficit of 3.8% of GDP on the ESA 2010 measure in 2017, which would be in breach of EU fiscal rules. We expect mild fiscal consolidation in 2019-21.
  • The National Bank of Romania (NBR, the central bank) is likely to tighten policy in the second half 2018 to counter economic overheating.
  • Following real GDP growth of 4.8% in 2016, we expect growth to average 4.2% per year in 2017-21, largely driven by private consumption.
  • We forecast average annual current-account deficits equivalent to 3.2% of GDP in 2017-21, following a deficit of 2.3% of GDP in 2016.


Review



  • Romania's relations with Russia have deteriorated sharply following a decision by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to refuse permission to Dmitry Rogozin, a Russian deputy prime minister, to overfly Romania on July 28th.
  • A series of positive new stories meant that the domestic currency appreciated faster than we had anticipated. The value of the leu against the US dollar dropped from Lei3.98:US$1 at the start of July to Lei3.88:US$1 by July 31st, resulting in an average exchange rate of Lei3.97:US$1 during the month.
  • Despite all of the "fiscal hopping" and political instability in June and July, economic sentiment was not significantly affected, with all business confidence indicators remaining close to post-crisis highs.
  • On July 26th Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European Commission, praised Romania's progress on judicial reforms and the fight against corruption, but under the expectation of continued reform efforts.


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