IMF releases conclusions on economic growth and gas market liberalization in Romania
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates for 2014 a 2.2 percent economic growth for Romania, after an advance of 2.8 percent registered last year, head of the IMF mission in Romania Andrea Schaechter told a press conference at the end of the visit to Bucharest and quoted by national newswire Agerpres.
For 2013, we estimate a 2.8 percent increase in the GDP, the highest economic growth since the beginning of the crisis, she said, mentioning the good agricultural year and exports among the factors having determined this growth.
This year Romanian economy will grow 2.2 percent, Andrea Schaechter added.
It is a lower economic growth than last year, but there will also be other sectors besides agriculture that will play an important role. We are optimistic that new jobs will be created, Schaechter pointed out.
Also, the official stated within the press conference that Romania has fulfilled its commitments concerning the deregulation. As regards the electricity, the market has been already deregulated since January 1 for non-household consumers, as planned. For the natural gas, the deregulation will be completed in July, earlier than previously estimated.
According to calendars agreed by the Romanian Government and the IMF in 2012, the electricity market has been fully liberalized on January 1, 2014 for industrial consumers, and for the households the liberalization will be achieved on December 31, 2017.
The original schedule for the deregulation of gas had set liberalization for industrial consumers on December 31, 2014; this term has been advanced to July 1, 2014. For the households, prices will be completely liberalized on December 31, 2018.
The measures taken by the Government to protect vulnerable consumers have also met the expectations, the head of the IMF mission added.
As regards the listings on the stock market expected this year, namely Hidroelectrica, Electrica, and Oltenia Energy Complex, Schaechter mentioned that the preparations are in progress as planned.
The main purpose of these listings is to provide financing, openness and transparency, she said.
Asked whether the summer of 2015 is the right time for listing the three state-owned companies, Schaechter pointed out that from then on, analysts will consider these companies differently, and she gave the example of the successful listing of Romgaz in autumn 2013.
The Romanian energy sector is a strategic one, and it represents a way of attracting foreign investments, the IMF official also mentioned.
She added that Romanian authorities have presented to the IMF the plans for the reorganization of energy producers as companies with mixed resources, not single ones like so far.