Law – The Liberal government in Bucharest passed, on Tuesday evening, three draft laws for which they are to assume responsibility, said Wednesday the head of the PM's office, Ionel Danca. He said the three bills are related to the modification of the justice laws, the abrogation of an ordinance regarding passenger transport within counties, the budget caps and the budgetary and fiscal strategy. The head of the PM's office said the government will forward today to Parliament the letter regarding the aforementioned bills, for which it will take responsibility, with Parliament being expected to decide on a timetable.
Rating – Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has revised downwards Romania’s outlook from stable to negative, due to the deficit increase, affirming their ‘BBB-/A-3’ ratings for the long and short term debt in hard currency and the local currency. The large spending deviations by the previous Social Democratic government have forced Romania’s current leadership to revise up its fiscal targets for 2019 and 2020, against the backdrop of a slowing economy, S&P shows. According to the S&P report, the planned wage and pension increases will contribute to a widening of Romania’s already substantial current account deficit through 2020. Although the agency expects significant fiscal consolidation to commence next year, the rigid budget structure and volatile policy environment pose risks to that assumption. Also S&P warns that it might lower its ratings on Romania within the next 24 months if fiscal and external imbalances continue to deteriorate and persist for longer than the agency currently anticipates.
Swine fever – Due to swine fever and the increase in import prices, the price of pork meat has doubled in 2019 and it might triple in early 2020, says the president of the Romanian Meat Association, Radu Timis. He has however given assurances that for the winter holidays Romanians will find pork meat in shops. Radu Timis believes that next year half of the companies processing pork in Europe will disappear. In turn, the National Sanitary, Veterinary and Food Safety Authority has given assurances that it will draft a new strategy for fighting and controlling African swine fever, that will have to be assumed by all institutions involved and also by farmers and the line industry.
Tokyo – Romania’s national women’s handball team was defeated on Wednesday 37-20 by Japan in their last match in the main Group II of the World Championship hosted by Japan. On Tuesday the Romanian handballers were defeated by Sweden as well 34-22. Romania ended the championship on 12th place. In the final tournament the Romanian team was defeated 4 times at a difference of at least 9 points, but also obtained a victory against the team of Kazakhstan. The Romanians qualified to the pre-Olympic tournament after obtaining the 4th position in the European Championship, but their performance in Kumamoto, Japan, was disappointing, just like their entire performance in 2019.
Inflation – In Romania, the annual inflation rate rose to 3.8% in November 2019 from 3.4% in October, in the context of price hikes for food and non-food products and service, shows data published on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics. The National Bank of Romania lowered to 3.8% the inflation rate forecast for the end of 2019 and estimates an inflation rate of 3.1% for the end of 2020. In turn, the IMF revised upwards its estimates for consumption prices in Romania this year up to an annual average growth of 4.2% as against 3.3% estimated in spring. (translation by L. Simion)