Press review (May 8)

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Romania’s national dailies of Friday give main coverage to the report of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) on inflation in the first quarter of 2009; Government meets to discuss the uniform pay law for public employees; the European election canvassing starts today; developments in the real wages in March; industrial turnover slightly up.

Cotidianul remarks that the Romanian economy has get out of torpour a little, carrying figures reported by National Bank of Romania Governor Mugur Isarescu, who is betting Romania will close 2009 on a positive Gross Domestic Product.

Business standard quotes Isarescu as having announced on Thursday that the peak of pressure on the local currency, the leu (RON) has passed, as 5 billion euros from the International Montary Fund entered the BNR accounts to defend the exchange rate, and the BNR monetary policy rate was cut by 0.5 percent, to 9.5 percent.

Financiarul notes that Isarescu is accusing the banks of not rushing to lend. Isarescu, the paper says, does not expect the banks to take over immediately the decision to cut interest in order to boost lending. He believes commercial banks will first reduce interest on deposits, which high levels seem a reason to worry to Isarescu.

Romania libera covers the meeting on Thursday at the Labour Ministry of the parties interested in the drawing up of a draft uniform pay law for the public employees.

In its editorial called ‘German law against salary chaos,’ the paper says the German pay law could be good to Romania as well, as trade unions and politicians so believe, because it is grounded in comprehensive studies and a rich experience with budgetary policies of a strong country.

Real wages were up 2.7 percent in March, Financiarul reports. Real wage income recorded thus its first advancement this year, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute (INS). The positive trend followed a monthly decline of 10.1 percent in remunerations this January.

The mandatory flat corporate tax will affect 90 percent of the small and medium-sized enterprises, Financiarul remarks. The introduction on May 1 of the mandatory flat corporate tax is in breach with the recommendations of the European Commission, the laws of economics theory and the provisions of the Tax Code, the paper quotes Secretary General of the Romanian office of the International Association of Taxation Delia Catarama as arguing.

SMEs Minister Constantin Nita tells Business Standard that if he had company now he would close it, or else it would face losses. He says pragmatism is required, as elsewhere in the world, and that means when business does not work you had better close it down with no compunction.

Ziua remarks that Dacia Sandero Stepway will be commercially released this September, informing that trade in this new model, the first crossover in the history of Dacia unveiled on Thursday in Barcelona, will start this September on most European markets. In some countries, orders for the new car can be lodged as early as late this June.

Business standard attempts to answer the question about how the Romanian energy market looks four months in 2009. It carries a statement by state secretary with the Economy Ministry Tudor Serban that Romgaz, having reported a profit of 49 million euros in Q 1, 2009, is ready to start explorations in the Black Sea, with or without Sterling Resources.

Business Standard also informs that Austrian company Holzindustrie Schweighofer has opened the largest co-generation biomass plant in Romania at Radauti, north-east of Bucharest, on a 20-million-euro investment, with a total capacity of 22 MW.

The paper also mentions that Romania’s second nuclear-power plant contemplated by the authorities will be located in the central part of the country. The paper quotes state secretary with the Economy Ministry Tudor Serban as saying there have been signs of interest in the project from the largest European energy companies, includiong E.ON, CEZ, Iberdrola, RWE, GDF Suez, and even from South Korean companies.

Romania libera talks about the crisis having slowed down construction projects; Adevarul predicts that the low-cost market of Romania will double; Cotidianul notes that the Negoita brothers are cutting 38,000 euros off of the prices for their flats;

Financiarul says Romania will import gas from Iran via a new gas pipeline, Cosmote mobile communications operators reported growth in the first quarters in all its business fields, and notes that hospitals are shrinking business for lack of public appropriations.

The papers inform that today is the official start of the electioneering for the June 7 European election. The stake is 33 MEP seats, for which six parties, one political alliance and two non-affiliated are competing: the Social Democratic Party + Conservative Party (PSD+PC) alliance; the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L); the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the Greater Romania Party (PRM); the Christian Democratic National Peasant Party (PNTCD); the Civic Force; Pavel Abraham and Elena Basescu.

The canvassing ends on June 6.
The papers remark that PNL launched its candidates two days earlier than initially planned. PD-L is waiting for May 9, Europe Day, to do the same, while PSD has not announced any date for the official launch of its candidates.

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