This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Romania recorded strong economic growth in 2017, with record low unemployment and an improving financial sector. Private consumption boosted by fiscal stimulus and wage increases led the strong growth, while investment lagged and structural reforms slowed. Public investment fell to a multi-year low in percent of GDP with a low absorption of European Union funds. Both the government deficit and current account deficit widened, respectively to 2.8 and 3.4 percent of GDP in 2017. Growth is expected to reach 5 percent in 2018—led again by continuing stimulus to private consumption from fiscal relaxation—and accompanied by a current account deficit and elevated inflation, even as monetary policy is tightened.
Was the postcrisis growth slowdown in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE)
structural or cyclical? We use three different methods—production function approach, basic
multivariate filter, and multivariate filter with financial frictions—to evaluate potential growth
and output gaps for 18 CESEE countries during 2000-15. Our findings suggest that potential
growth weakened significantly after the crisis across most countries in the region. This decline
appears to be largely due to stagnant productivity and weaker capital accumulation, which were
associated with common external factors, including trading partners’ slow potential growth, but
also decline in global trade and stalled expansion of global value chains. Our estimates suggest
that output gaps in 2015 were largely closed in many countries in the region.
This paper discusses the following important issues related to the Romanian economy: inflation and inflation expectations, the need to bolster expenditure efficiency, minimum wage policy, and financial sector development. Headline inflation has decreased markedly in Romania in recent years. Key factors in this trend were oil and food price developments and, in particular, the recent reduction in the VAT rate. Romania has undertaken a strong fiscal consolidation since 2010, which reduced expenditure to among the lowest in the region. Minimum wages in Romania have risen sharply, which could directly affect wage distribution and improve income inequality.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Romania’s economic recovery has become more entrenched and broad based, with private consumption picking up on the back of rising real disposable income. At the same time, inflation has decelerated substantially over the past two years and a negative output gap persists. The banking sector has considerably reduced nonperforming loans, though they remain high, and private sector credit has fallen since 2013. Growth is projected to remain robust in a low inflation environment. Raising growth prospects over the longer term requires continuity of sustainable macroeconomic policies, underpinned by stronger fiscal and regulatory institutions, and a more stable and predictable business environment, which is crucial for investor confidence.
This first and second reviews under the Stand-By-Arrangement analyzes Ex Post Evaluation of exceptional access for Romania. Efforts are needed to strengthen monetary policy transmission. The banking system remains well capitalized, but the authorities need to accelerate the resolution of nonperforming loans and closely monitor risks from parent bank deleveraging. The Romanian authorities continue their efforts to reach the goals of a broad structural agenda, with a focus on structural reforms in the energy, transport and healthcare sectors, and continue the reform of the state-owned enterprises.
This paper discusses Romania’s Request for a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). Since the 2008 global financial crisis, Romania has made significant progress in reducing macroeconomic imbalances and rebuilding fiscal and financial buffers. However, Romania remains vulnerable to external shocks, in particular uncertainties in the euro area as well as global volatility in capital flows to emerging markets. The new SBA would provide a valuable policy anchor and support Romania’s comprehensive economic program for 2013–2015 to maintain sound macroeconomic policies and financial sector stability and continue structural reforms to enhance growth prospects. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a new SBA.
Growth in Romania is likely to moderate in 2012, weighed down by the euro area slowdown. The Fifth Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement highlights that Romania’s overall track record under the program continues to be strong. All performance criteria for the fifth program review were met, except for accumulation of central government arrears, which was missed by a small margin. The indicative target on local government arrears accumulation was also missed. Progress was made on the large and difficult structural agenda, although more action is needed.