Romania’s trade deficit hits 9.7% of GDP in 12 months to October

Romania’s trade deficit hits 9.7% of GDP in 12 months to October
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest December 13, 2021

Romania’s trade deficit in the 12-month period ending October reached €22.7bn, or 9.7% of GDP, as the export-to-GDP ratio failed to recover to the pre-crisis level and the import-to-GDP rose driven by fiscal stimulus and higher commodity prices.

Romania’s exports and imports increased to record levels in October and the trade gap rose by 37% in the month, compared to the same month last year, to €2.47bn, according to the latest data released by the statistics office INS.

The annual growth rates for Romania’s exports, imports and trade gap are slightly above the medium-term trends as global trade is recovering from the slowdown experienced last year. Higher commodity prices and the global inflationary trend are contributing as well to better foreign trade figures toward the end of 2021.

Romania’s exports rose by only 4.6% y/y to €6.55bn in October, but by 16.6% y/y to €72.2bn over the rolling 12-month period ending October.

Imports rose by 11.8% y/y (to €9.01bn ) in October and by 18.6% y/y to €94.9bn in the 12-month period.

Thus, the trade gap accumulated over the past 12 months ending October reached €22.7bn — 25% more than it was as of October 2020 and 31% more than it was in October 2019 before the crisis. 

Romania’s trade gap is widening more than as an effect of the recovery after the lockdown period or as an effect of global inflation.

This is visible from the 12-month trade gap expressed as a share of the latest available four-quarter GDP. This ratio, the dynamic trade gap to GDP ratio, reached 9.7% according to bne IntelliNews calculations, up from 8.3% as of October 2020 and 8.0% in October 2019.

As a share of GDP, Romania’s imports reached 40.6% — 1pp more than the 39.6% as of October 2019. The country’s exports, however, haven’t reached the pre-crisis level (compared to GDP) as they were only 30.8% of GDP as of October 2021 compared to 31.6% two years earlier in October 2019.