Press review (Sept 26)

The Romanian dailies on Friday carry reports, analyses and commentaries on the economic and financial issues mostly, with the main topics being the National Bank of Romania's decision to keep the key rate unchanged, the autumn prognosis of the Romanian economic growth, the level of the Romanians' wages and of the foreign investments and a decision to put off the listing of several state-owned companies on the Stock Exchange.
Although the Bucharest Court of Appeals overruled on Thursday a claim by the opposition Greater Romania Party (PRM) to cancel a Government resolution that delimitates the uninominal colleges in view of the general elections, uncertainty over the date of the elections (originally set on Nov. 30) remains, since the court ruling is not final, Ziarul financiar reports; the court is to judge the case in depth on Nov. 11, when the election campaign will be in full swing, the daily stresses.
"It is only after the elections that we might find whether the current electoral law is valid or not", adds Cotidianul in a headline.
Dutch ambassador to Romania Jaap Werner speaks in an interview with Cotidianul about the role of Parliament in the fight against corruption, about politics surrounding the cases put forward to justice and the need of an image campaign for Romania.
Werner stresses there are four strategic goals referring the situation in Romania as cited in the European Commission's Report: "Depending on each objective, some things are going to the better, such as the issues related to the Civil Code and the Penal Code, for example. I hope this goal will be reached by next year", the ambassador says.
"There also are, of course, the objectives related to the National Integrity Agency, and the fight against corruption. All the goals might be attained by Romania. The weak point cited by the Commission's Report was Parliament. The body hasn't had this year a favourable route as regards the justice reform. There will be elections by the end of the year. I am optimistic by nature and profession, so let's hope the new Parliament will see in a clearer manner the urgency of the positive role of the legislative body in the justice reform", the Dutch diplomat says.
"The very low wages in Romania compared not only to Western Europe, but to Central and Eastern Europe as well are guarantee of the continued direct foreign investment in the next years, and of the economic growth too", Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) chief economist Lucian Anghel is quoted by Ziarul financiar as saying.
"Although wages grew faster than labour productivity in 2007, Romania still remains cheaper with respect to the labour cost in relation to the productivity gain when compared to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia", Anghel stresses.
The key rate to the national leu currency stays at 10.25% per annum, the National Bank of Romania's Board of Directors decided on Thursday. It is the first vote for the stabilisation of interest rates, after the central bank raised the key interest as many as seven consecutive times since last October till this July, thus pushing the key interest up by 3.25% from the previous 7% per annum, Ziarul financiar reports.
"Maintaining the key interest rate doesn't help the leu", says Bursa in a headline. The paper quotes chairman of the Association of the Romanian Financial Analysts, Dragos Cabat as arguing the national currency will keep on depreciating "as long as the situation is uncertain on a global level".
Bancpost bank chief economist Dan Bucsa says "a strengthened money policy will help to curb the inflation in 2009, but it will affect the economic growth".
The preliminary version of the autumn projection released by the National Commission of Prognosis changes all the official estimations related to the economic growth by 2013 that were released in this spring, with the GDP jump to keep on at more than 6% in the next five years, Ziarul financiar reports.
The most spectacular modification of the prognosis is related to this year's expected economic growth of 9.1%, which is an upward revision from 6.5% rise in the GDP made in spring.
"Optimistic projections for Romania", headlines Adevarul, which stresses the GDP will double next year compared to 2005.
The fall of the Bucharest Stock Exchange recorded this year has prompted the Romanian authorities to put off a decision to list state-owned companies, this year at least. "There will be no listing of the state-owned companies on the capital market this year, since we must have a state of expansion on the stock exchange", Economy and Finances Minister Varujan Vosganian told Gandul daily.
The state companies that the authorities plan to list at a time when the capital market will be on the rise include operator of Cernavoda nuclear reactors 1 and 2 Nuclearelectrica, Bucharest's Henri Coanda International Airport and Proprietatea (Property) Fund.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has included Romania among the economically developed states, as a result of its accession to the European Union in 2007, shows the latest issue of the World Investment Report cited by Romania Libera. It is for the first time that Romania is included among the developed countries by a foreign organisation. The authors of the report explain the decision as being the result of Romania's EU membership only.
The Romanian print media reports that MultiSonicFest has begun in Bucharest, with this being the only Romanian festival devoted to the fusion phenomenon. The event is being held on Sept. 25-28 and it features Romanian artists together with musicians from Spain and Argentina who combine jazz, electro music, contemporary and experimental music with improvisation and dance.
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