Romania’s foreign trade gap shrank in January 2014, continuing the path established in 2013, yet at a slower pace with exports advancing by 6.4% y/y to a new record-high for the first month of the year of EUR 3.9bn, calculations based on statistics office data showed. As a result, the FOB trade gap* narrowed by 42.9% y/y to only EUR 76mn.
On the other hand, imports increased by 4.6% y/y to EUR 4bn [FOB] in January – possibly supported by the marginal improvement in domestic consumption also seen in the second half of last year, thogh still remaining at moderate levels and allowing the trade gap to shrink significantly.
RECORD EXPORTS: The country’s exports in the rolling 12 months increased by 10% y/y to EUR 49.8bn at end-January, 45% above the best pre-crisis level reached in October 2008. The FOB trade gap also calculated for the rolling 12 months narrowed slightly below EUR 3.4bn – less than half of the EUR 7.4bn average level seen in 2009-2012.
2014 OUTLOOK: In the year to come, exports are expected to grow more slowly than last year’s 10% rate, while imports might strengthen moderately if consumers’ confidence consolidates at the higher rates seen in the recent months. The trade gap will probably stagnate at current levels after it more than halved to EUR 3.4bn in 2013 in a second correction step following the initial balance of payment correction in 2009.
OFFICIAL 2014 FORECAST
The state-run forecasting body CNP projects a 7.3% rise in exports and 6.6% higher imports for 2014, under the Winter Forecast issued on March 5. The scenario specifies 2.3% GDP growth for this year – which is in line with most independent projections, however built on fragile assumptions - a significant recovery in domestic consumption [up 1.7% from the 0.3% growth in 2013], a robust expansion of the construction sector [6.1%] and a strong 4% rise in gross fixed capital formation. The FOB trade gap would narrow marginally by 3.8% to EUR 3.3bn consequently, CNP concludes.
* FOB/FOB trade gap calculated by IntelliNews based on statistics office data
|2010||2011||2012||2013||Q2 13||Q3 13||Q4 13||Jan-14|
|FOB exp. %, y/y||28%||21%||0%||10%||7.2%||14.6%||13.3%||6.3%|
|CIF imp. %, y/y||20%||17%||0%||1%||-4.4%||4.9%||4.6%||4.6%|
|Balance %, y/y*||11%||-3%||0%||-54%||-61.2%||-58.0%||-49.6%||-42.9%|
|Source: INS, *IntelliNews estimates|
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