Romania is a market with excellent potential, a strategic location, and an increasingly solid business climate. Its economy is among the EU’s fastest growing; following 3.4% growth in real GDP in 2013 and 2.8% in 2014, provisional data indicate 3.8% growth for 2015, primarily driven by consumption and investment – the fastest rate since 2008. And the country is well on track for another year of near 4% GDP growth in 2016.
In the context of historically low inflation (negative in 2015, for the first time since the fall of Communism), a structural fiscal position of approximately 1% of GDP, and a current account deficit below 1% of GDP, the National Bank of Romania relaxed monetary policy in order to support the economy starting with the Financial Crisis in 2008. There were gradual interest rate cuts from 10.25% at the beginning of 2009 to a record low of 1.75% at present. Public debt is currently below 40% of GDP, is predicted to decrease in the medium-term, and the Romanian currency has been one of the most stable in the region for the last few years.
Romania will be eligible to receive approximately €43 billion in Structural and Cohesion funds and Rural Development and Fisheries funds from the EU in the 2014-2020 programming period (according to the Partnership Agreement for Romania). Bilateral trade in goods between Romania and the United States was nearly $3 billion in 2015, with over $2 billion in Romanian exports to the United States and just under $1 billion in U.S. exports to Romania.
The balance of this report is intended to aid American companies in developing and executing new and increased sales to this important and promising – yet still transitional – EU market.