Relatively low wages and an educated workforce make Romania an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. The country’s EU membership has deepened trade and capital market integration, fostering continued convergence with other members of the bloc. A flexible currency and limited private sector indebtedness provides some space for Romania’s policymakers to stimulate growth.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective in Romania. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on 22 of the country’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our expert teams. We aim to keep you ahead of the curve, so you can do business with ease in Romania.

Country Risk

Romania Country Risk

BMI View:

Core Views:

  • Romania will be an economic growth outperformer in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in 2016, and the second fastest growing EU economy (behind Ireland).

  • Growth will mainly driven by household spending, which stands to benefit from public sector wage increases, successive VAT cuts, and improving labour market conditions.

  • Romania's deflationary trend is supply-side in nature, and we expect the central bank to begin hiking rates in 2017.

  • Romania's current account and trade deficits will widen, mainly due to robust domestic demand and imports.

  • Romania's anticorruption push will dent trust in politicians in 2016, but will be net positive for the country's longer-term macroeconomic and political development.

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Romania Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Romania Operational Risk

BMI View:

BMI View: While the migrant crisis is affecting operational risk across many Emerging European states, Romania is less exposed to this risk than its neighbours, as it does not form the main part of the main migrant route from North Africa and the Middle East to mainland Europe. Financial crime, cybercrime and endemic corruption in the political and judicial system instead are the main concern for investors and continue to undermine the operating environment and dampen investor confidence in Romania. The lack of skilled labour is another cause for concern, particularly in light of declining secondary and tertiary education enrolment and attainment rates, and Romania's ongoing 'brain drain' is resulting in the loss of the most qualified candidates to competing markets. Somewhat offsetting these risks are the high level of openness to foreign investment,...

Romania Crime & Security

BMI View:

BMI View: From a crime and security perspective, Romania performs competitively in comparison to many of its Emerging European peers. Business crime threats such as cybercrime, financial crime and organised criminal activities pose the largest risk to investors seeking to break in to Romania and businesses already operating in the country. Corruption endemic in the Romanian government, law enforcement and industry also hampers efforts being made to crackdown on these types of crimes. Security concerns related to petty or violent crime and international conflicts or terrorist attacks, however are minimal. Therefore, Romania scores a relatively...

Romania Labour Market

BMI View:

BMI View: Issues such as low levels of tertiary education, high unionisation rates, and high levels of skilled labour emigration, detract from Romania's otherwise attractive labour market. Low wages, flexible employment legislation and a large working-age population will continue to keep costs low within the manufacturing sector, which is one of the country's key industries. Therefore, Romania scores 55.9 out of 100, ranking the country in 17th place out of 31 Emerging European states and in 63rd position globally.

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Attractive Labour Market For Manufacturing Industries
Romania and Regional Average Labour Market Risk
...

Romania Logistics

BMI View:

BMI View: The logistics network in Romania presents potential investors with challenges and benefits. While the country has strong regional and international trade connectivity via extensive road, rail and maritime links, the quality of the transport network suffers from underinvestment and can be the cause of delays. Similarly, while there are few bureaucratic hurdles for importing and exporting goods, this is offset by the high cost of transport freight to and from the country. And while Romania enjoys security of fuel supplies, the costs of said fuel is again higher than the regional average. As such, Romania has a middling score of 57.2 out of 100 on the BMI Logistics Risk Index, placing the country 13th out of 31 Emerging Europe states, and 65th out of 201 states globally.

Romania has a strong export sector, which is placing increasing demand...

Romania Trade & Investment

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania's potential as a trade and investment destination is looking strong given its robust economic performance, tariff-free trade access to EU markets, strong FDI inflows, as well as low taxation rates and efficient taxation system. However, its overall score is hindered by examples of displays of policy discontinuity by the Romanian government in relation to foreign investors, as well as the problem of corruption, which is still embedded in the Romanian government and legal system. Consequently, Romania is awarded a score of 62.7 out of 100 for the overall BMI Trade and Investment Risk Index , ranking the country eleventh out of 31 states in the Emerging European region.

Overall Trade And Investment Score Above Regional Average
Romania...

Romania Industry Coverage (21)

Agribusiness

Romania Agribusiness

BMI View:

BMI View: We still believe the Romanian grain sector has high growth potential owing to its competitiveness and its exposure to the Middle East and Asia. We believe that the country's poultry sub-sector will outperform the rest of the livestock sector, owing to strong demand from Romania's population. Milk production will see limited growth after the EU quota removal (March 2015), while the sugar sector will moderately benefit from the removal (2017).

Agribusiness Market Value
BMI Market Value By Commodity (2011-2019)
e/f = BMI estimate/...

Autos

Romania Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: We forecast a 14.9% increase in vehicle sales in 2015 on the back of a recovery in the passenger car and commercial vehicle (CV) segments.

Passenger Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Sales
(2013-2019)
f = BMI forecast. Source: APIA, BMI
Key Views
  • Growing consumer sentiment started translating into an uptick in big-ticket purchases, such as new autos, following a period of reticence from consumers.

...

Commercial Banking

Romania Commercial Banking

BMI View:

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Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

Defence & Security

Romania Defence & Security

BMI View:

BMI View: We expect Romania's defence budget to increase, both in absolute terms and as a share of GDP, in the next five years. This growth will be driven by the rising tensions in the Black Sea region, as Russia's increasingly aggressive stance in Ukraine and Moldova is prompting Romania to speed up the process of modernisation of its armed forces. Modernisation will initially focus on ...

Food & Drink

Romania Food & Drink

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania's food and drink industry will outperform in the Central and Eastern Europe region. We forecast the food and drinks sector to grow at an average annual rate of 5.6% over 2014-2019. Planned and implemented VAT cuts on food and drinks will drive growth in the short term. Additionally, the mass grocery retail sector stands to gain from increased sales in food and beverages.

Headline Industry Data (local currency)

  • Food consumption growth year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2015: +5.2%; compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2014-2019: +5.6%.

  • Per capita food consumption growth (y-o-y) in 2015: +5.5%; CAGR 2014-2019: +5.9%.

  • Alcoholic drinks value sales growth (y-o-y) in 2015: +3.4%; CAGR 2014-2019: +6.0%.

  • Soft drinks value sales growth (y-o-y) in 2015: +4....

Freight Transport

Romania Freight Transport

BMI View:

BMI View: In light of an improving economy in Romania and the eurozone recovery, trade activity will grow and private consumer demand will increase, providing opportunities for the freight sector in general. As exports increase in agricultural and heavy machinery, rail freight will see moderate growth in 2016, while road freight will have the strongest growth due to improved domestic conditions and investment in infrastructure.

The economic situation in Romania looks promising for our forecast period, benefiting from a recovery in Europe, increased employment and consumer purchasing power. Romania is set to be one of the fastest growing economies in south-eastern Europe, as it transitions towards a more balanced growth model driven by both private consumption and exports. Road freight will benefit from private consumption, while rail will benefit from exports.

The...

Romania Freight Transport

BMI View:

BMI View: Strong growth in imports in particular will boost Romania's freight transport network in 2016 and beyond. A rapid expansion in wages will boost household spending power lending particular support to air and road freight volumes. Real GDP growth will be second only to Ireland in the EU.

The Romanian road haulage sector will enjoy healthy volume growth in 2016 which will speed up further over the remainder of our forecast period to 2020. Although already fairly well developed, growth will be driven by strong domestic demand for imported consumer goods, following a rapid rise in disposable incomes. Over the longer term, EU-funded investment in new roads will support both domestic volumes and the country's attractiveness as a transit hub.

Despite significant challenges from aging infrastructure which has forced rail freight operators' trains to run extremely slowly,...

Information Technology

Romania Information Technology

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania is one of the lower income markets in Central and Eastern Europe, with device and solution penetration rates below much of the rest of the region. This growth potential is expected to be unlocked over the medium term as the economic environment becomes more supportive after a drag in 2014-2015. Our household income forecast shows an expanding and increasingly affluent middle class, which is positive for device spending, as well as wider economic sentiment. Meanwhile, the enterprise application market has considerable potential in ERP and CRM, and lower-cost cloud providers could make gains in market share by tapping this underpenetrated opportunity. For the Romanian IT market as a whole we forecast a CAGR of 7.2% over 2016-2020 to almost RON7.7bn.

...

Infrastructure

Romania Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania's construction industry continues to prove one of the strongest markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The country's significant infrastructure deficit, with ageing transport and utilities networks creating delays and supply insecurity, means there is extensive demand for investment with a number of sectors targeted for expansion and modernisation. EU funding will support a range of projects, including major road and rail improvements under the Transport Master Plan, and public investment in some key gas pipeline and power plant projects is expected. Meanwhile demand for office and retail space is growing, as is the residential construction sector. Some risks remain, despite the growth potential, as there are ongoing concerns over transparency...

Insurance

Romania Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: We retain our broadly positive outlook for the Romanian insurance market in 2016 and beyond, out to the end of our forecast period in 2020. The life sector is in its early stages of development with low rates of density and penetration, having largely been constrained by disposable income levels in the country. Rising incomes will bolster life insurance uptake in the country and make it more affordable. The non-life sector is more established, though largely dominated by basic motor and property lines. We identify the primary drivers of growth as rising average household incomes, growing private final consumption levels, higher disposable incomes and positive macroeconomic market fundamentals. We believe that this growth could attract more foreign investment to the small Romanian market, though some regulatory uncertainty could deter potential investors.

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Medical Devices

Romania Medical Devices

BMI View:

BMI Industry View: We project the Romanian medical device market to grow by a CAGR of 2.3% over the 2014-2019 period, supported by good economic growth and rising health expenditure. The scarcity of high-tech equipment, expanding private healthcare sector and acute need for renovation within hospitals keeps the demand for medical devices high. The market is expected to remain heavily reliant on imports as the domestic industry mainly produces outdated equipment that can only compete with foreign products in terms of price.

Headline Industry Forecasts

  • In local currency terms, we expect the medical device market to grow by a projected 2014-2019 CAGR of 5.1%, which is slightly higher than the GDP forecast for the country, but market growth will be weaker in US dollar terms due to the projected depreciation of the Romanian leu against the...

Mining

Romania Mining

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania's potential as an important centre for European mining remains undermined by a number of ongoing challenges. While efforts are being made on a governmental level to improve the business environment by reducing corruption and providing a steady economic platform from which to support private sector activity. However, this has only partly filtered through to the mining sector, where foreign operators continue to meet with a number of challenges. As well as a lingering infrastructure deficit, the government's opposition to Gabriel Resources' Rosia Montana mining project highlights the opposition towards commercial mining ventures that still exists in the country and that has prevented the country from fully leveraging its significant resources. Pressure on the government...

Oil & Gas

Romania Oil & Gas

BMI View:

BMI View: Investment into E&P is waning as major offshore drilling programmes have concluded, though field redevelopment projects continue over the short term. Refinery output demand and fuels demand have both improved on the back of lower oil prices.

Headline Forecasts (Romania 2014-2020)
2014 2015 2016f ...

Petrochemicals

Romania Petrochemicals

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania's petrochemicals industry is finally seeing an improvement in performance following years of decline. Oltchim slashed losses and boosted profit in 2015, providing the basis for privatisation, possibly including the Arpechim refinery on which it depended for feedstock. Refinery integration and capital investment following privatisation could significantly boost Romanian petrochemicals output.

Weaker oil prices have helped Romania's downstream sectors, with refining margins improving as a result and thereby reversing the situation of regular quarterly losses. This is helping drive down the cost of naphtha feedstock used in the Romanian petrochemicals industry, reviving the fortunes of the sector.

Romania's rubber and plastics output notched up an impressive performance in 2015, with growth of 8.7% y-o-y. However, chemicals output...

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Romania Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: In line with Romania's economic outperformance in Europe, the country's pharmaceutical and healthcare markets will see strong growth given increased consumer spending power and higher healthcare contributions. However, aggressive drug pricing regulations, including the imminent joint drug procurement agreement with Bulgaria will limit revenue earning opportunities.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: RON14.94bn (USD3.73bn) in 2015 to RON16.55bn (USD4.01bn) in 2016; 10.7% in local currency terms and 7.4% in US dollar terms. Forecast revised upwards from last quarter.

  • Healthcare: RON37.91bn (USD9.46bn) in 2015 to RON40.08bn (USD9.70bn) in 2016; 5.7% in local currency terms and 2.6% in US dollar...

Power

Romania Power

BMI View:

BMI View: This quarter our main assumptions for the sector remain virtually unchanged. We continue to forecast electricity generation to remain relatively flat - registering annual average growth of 0.88% between 2016 and 2025. Coal will remain the biggest component of the power mix, but gas will gain share as coal capacity is taken offline to comply with tightening EU emissions targets, and Romania boosts domestic gas production from the Black Sea towards the end of our forecast period.

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Headline Power Forecasts (Romania 2015-2021)

Real Estate

Romania Real Estate

BMI View:

BMI View: With growing public confidence in the current parliamentary administration and rising household spending, we believe that Romania's commercial real estate sector is set to experience buoyant growth, rendering it an attractive investment opportunity. However, companies should remain vigilant as to the situation regarding the stagnation in rental rates as a result of high vacancies.

The Romanian economy looks to outperform its CEE peers over the 2015 and 2016 period as improved government fiscal policy and robust consumer spending drive economic growth further than peripheral EU emerging economies. Due to the favorable conditions witnessed, we have revised our GDP forecast from 3.4% to 3.6% for 2015 and 2016, exceeding prior prospects and revealing the growing potential for the Romanian economy. Looking ahead in the forecast period, we expect to witness increasing public...

Retail

Romania Retail

BMI View:

BMI View: The key indicators for Romania's retail market all reflect positive growth trends over the forecast period, with rapid economic expansion in the country supporting steady gains in average household income rates which in turn will stimulate higher rates of spending in a number of retail sectors. Despite this positive growth, we do note that income levels remain well below the averages seen in developed Western Europe markets, which will undermine the potential for growth in non-essential sectors. There is also some longer-term risk from the high rate of emigration which is resulting in the shrinkage of the Romanian population and therefore potential consumer market - though this trend is somewhat offset by gains in urbanisation and income levels.

...
Headline Household Spending

Telecommunications

Romania Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: Subscription-led growth is no longer possible in Romania's saturated mobile market. Network operators must deepen their relationships with existing customers, maximising monetisation opportunities. A paucity of high-speed wireline broadband networks was a key driver in 3G uptake, but premium service usage is low, souring investor appetites. Demand for converged services is growing, but Ancom's refusal to allow third parties to access cable operators' networks will impair further development.

Broadband Shortfall Drives...

Tourism

Romania Tourism

BMI View:

BMI View: Romania still has a great deal of developing to undergo if its tourism market is to reach its potential. The overall quality of transport infrastructure and hotel provision means it has fallen behind neighbouring countries, and Romania has not been able to sell itself effectively as a budget destination outside of regional source markets. A long-term marketing and tourism development plan has been introduced, however, and in the long term, entry into the EU should help boost both visibility and infrastructure due to grants and the transfer of knowledge. Already the government is looking to boost the number of air links into the country. Overall, the country's tourism industry is vulnerable to a downturn in the economic climate in Europe due to an over-reliance on regional inbound arrivals....

Water

Romania Water

BMI View:

BMI View: Although open to investment and private sector operators, we view the Romanian water sector as a risky proposition with limited potential at present. This is due to the limited infrastructure and high non revenue rates on the one hand, and the seeming prevalence of corruption scandals which are preventing the country from gaining much needed EU funding. The continued cancellation of vital infrastructure projects over 2014 and 2015 will mean that there is limited development in the quality of the infrastructure or the water and sanitation services over our forecast period through to 2019.

The expected rise in water extraction, consumption and untreated discharge stems from an increase in the number of households that have access to the water network as well as the expansion of the gold and coal mining sectors and the construction industry. These water-intensive industries, along with the...

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