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OTP Bank expects 4% economic growth in Romania, to possibly ease below 3% in 2023

July 21, 2022

Romania's economy will grow by 4% this year, and the growth will slow down to 3.5% in 2023 as the central bank will have to rise the refinancing rate to 7% by the end of this year (versus the 8%-9% ideal rate of the refinancing rate), according to a research report published by OTP Bank Romania.   The fiscal consolidation has stalled and will resume maybe next year, while the current account (CA) deficit may exceed expectations this year amid high energy prices and slower fiscal consolidation, the report reads, concluding that the twin deficit issue remains relevant.   "In a regional context, the comparison suggests a more optimistic average growth performance for Romania. Although, for next year, the prediction is pessimistic, with a lower expected result. At the moment, all areas are affected, given inflation - trade, real income, interest rates or fiscal consolidation, which has stalled at this time. [...] The positive outlook is also complemented by the fact that Romania is expected to receive European funds of about 3.5% of GDP annually in this forecast horizon," OTP Bank analysts argue, quoted by Bankingnews.ro.   "Under the baseline scenario, inflation could peak in June at a level slightly below 15%, but in the period to come, the decline will be slow, and we should be prepared not to see single-digit rates until March next year. Energy and food growth are now passing through to core inflation [...]. In addition, we can anticipate another increase in the price of energy for household use in April next year, when the current cap-and-subsidy scheme expires," the report reads.   OTP Bank expects the National Bank of Romania to conduct more hawkish policy towards the end of the year, yet along the line of moderation followed so far.   "The current level of the key policy rate, of 3.75%, still lags very much behind the evolutions of the inflation and the risk premium for the Romanian assets and it is very likely to see it increasing to 7.0% by the end of the year, while the market suggests a level of 8-9%," according to bank analysts' expectations.

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