Banca Transilvania, Romania’s second-largest bank, has finalised the purchase of a 39 per cent stake in Moldova’s third-largest lender Victoriabank. It is the first time since 2007 that a foreign bank has entered the Moldovan retail market as an investor. The deal makes Banca Transilvania the single largest largest shareholder in Victoriabank, which together with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a minority shareholder, now jointly hold a controlling stake of 66.7 per cent in the Moldovan bank. The pair will now offer to buy the remaining shares.
A new report, published by Moody’s Investors Service on January 17, claims that the outlook for sovereign creditworthiness in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is stable, reflecting solid economic growth in the region, which offsets structural and institutional challenges.
Doubts as to whether the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis could continue in his post were raised on January 16 after he failed to win parliamentary backing for his minority government.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued a six-day visit to the Baltics and the Western Balkans with a stop in Sofia on January 14, where he met with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov. The two men agreed to to continue working towards the early implementation of the Japan-EU free trade agreement. Bulgaria took over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council on January 1.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is providing a financing package of over 30 million euro to IMMER Group, a leading Eastern European producer of flexible packaging, to support export-led economic growth job creation in Ukraine.
“Political noise notwithstanding, the region’s economies are in a sweet spot, and should continue to ride the booming Eurozone wave this year.” That is the headline of a new report published by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), which highlights a number of key areas to watch during 2018.
HSBC – the world’s seventh largest bank by total assets and the largest in Europe – announced on January 4 that it is to launch a business desk in Poland, to facilitate trade and investment flows between China and the growing economies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The bank’s new Warsaw China Desk will focus, in particular, on Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, which together have attracted the bulk of China’s investment in the region. The move comes as bilateral trade between China and the region grew to nearly 59 billion US dollars in 2016, up 4.3 per cent year-on-year.
Local innovation has progressed in a spectacular way over the past decade throughout Emerging Europe, although there are still countries – in particular Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia – which lag behind. That is one the key findings of a major new report looking at start-up innovation and investment in Emerging Europe published by East-West Digital News (EWDN) in December 2017.
China and Moldova have formally agreed to begin talks on the establishment of a free-trade deal. Officials from the two countries signed an agreement in Beijing on December 29 following the completion in May of a six-month joint feasibility study. Its results recommended that establishing a free-trade deal would be conducive to deepening bilateral ties, tapping the potential of economic and trade cooperation, and promoting economic development in both countries. Moldova lies on the One Belt One Road/New Silk Road route and is potentially an important Eurasian trade partner for China. In 2014 it signed an Association Agreement with the EU.
The combative president of Moldova Igor Dodon potentially sparked a new political crisis on December 28 when he vetoed the appointment of seven new ministers. It is the second time that Dodon has rejected the nominations – part of a cabinet reshuffle which took place on December 19 aimed at promoting a more technocratic style of government.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to provide a loan of up to 350 million US dollars to support the modernisation and environmental upgrade of Ukraine’s largest steel mill, PubJSC ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih. Continue reading ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih Gets EBRD Boost
Annual inflation in the European Union was 1.8 per cent in November 2017, up from 1.7 per cent in October 2017. Inflation in the Euro Area also rose, from 1.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent. Estonia had the highest inflation rate in the EU, at 4.5 per cent, followed by Lithuania where inflation climbed to 4.2 per cent. The highest monthly increase was registered in Romania, where prices jumped 0.6 per cent on October to give an annual rate of 2.7 per cent. The data comes from Eurostat.