Economy of Romania
|Currency||Leu (Leu or RON)|
|European Union, WTO|
|GDP||$392.8 billion (PPP, 2014)|
|GDP rank||45th (PPP, 2014)|
|3.5% (Real, 2013 est.)|
GDP per capita
|$19,712 (PPP, 2014 est.)|
GDP by sector
|agriculture: 12.4%; industry: 35.6; services: 52% (2014 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|22.4% (2013 est.)|
|9.945 million (2014 est.)|
Labour force by occupation
|agriculture: 29%; industry: 28.6%; services: 42.4% (2012)|
|Unemployment||6.9% (April 2015)|
Average gross salary
|2,232 RON / 685 $, monthly (October 2013)|
|electric machinery and equipment, textiles and footwear, light machinery and auto assembly, mining, timber, construction materials, metallurgy, chemicals, food processing, petroleum refining|
|Exports||$63.12 billion (2014 est.)|
|machinery and equipment, metals and metal products, textiles and footwear, chemicals, agricultural products, minerals and fuels|
Main export partners
| Germany 18.9%
United Kingdom 4.2% (2013 est.)
|Imports||$72.57 billion (2014 est.)|
|machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels and minerals, textile and products, agricultural products|
Main import partners
| Germany 18.7%
Austria 4% (2013 est.)
|$74.49 billion (31 December 2012 est.)|
Gross external debt
|$127.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)|
|39.4% of GDP (2014 est.)|
|Revenues||$62.51 billion (2014 est.)|
|Expenses||$66.27 billion (2014 est.)|
|US$47.67 billion (31 December 2014)|
Romania has a developing, upper-middle income market economy, the 17th largest in the European Union by total nominal GDP and the 13th largest based on purchasing power parity. The collapse of the Communist regime in 1989, reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s and its 2007 accession to the European Union have led to an improved economic outlook.
Until 2009, Romanian economic growth was among the fastest in Europe (officially 8.4% in 2008 and more than three times the EU average). The country is a regional leader in multiple fields, such as IT and motor vehicle production,. Bucharest, the capital city, is one of the largest financial and industrial centres in Eastern Europe. Anyways Romania remains as one of the countries in the European Union with less unemployment rate.
- 1 History
- 2 The economy
- 3 Currency
- 4 Natural resources
- 5 Physical infrastructure
- 6 Sectors of the economy
- 7 Regional variation
- 8 Foreign trade
- 9 Miscellaneous data
- 10 See also
- 11 References
Before World War II
After World War I, the application of radical agricultural reforms and the passing of a new constitution created a democratic framework and allowed for quick economic growth (industrial production doubled between 1923–1938, despite the effects of the Great Depression). With oil production of 7.2 million tons in 1937, Romania ranked second in Europe and seventh in the world. The oil extracted from Romania was essential for the German war campaigns.
Before World War II, Romania was Europe's second-largest food producer.
Economy during 1944–1989
After the Second World War, Romania became a member of the Eastern Bloc, and switched to a socialist-style command economy. During this period the country experienced rapid industrialization in an attempt to create a "multilaterally developed socialist society". Economic growth was further fueled by foreign credits in the 1970s, but this eventually led to a growing foreign debt, which peaked at $11–12 billion.
Romania's debt was largely paid off during the 1980s by implementing severe austerity measures which deprived Romanians of basic consumer goods. In 1989, before the Romanian Revolution, Romania had a GDP of about 800 billion lei, or $53.6 billion. Around 58% of the country's gross national income came from industry, and another 15% came from agriculture. The minimum wage was 2,000 lei, or $135.
Free market transition
Privatization of industry was pursued with the 1992 transfer of 30% of the shares of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. The remaining 70% ownership of the enterprises was transferred to a state ownership fund, with a mandate to sell off its shares at the rate of at least 10% per year. The privatization law also called for direct sale of some 30 specially selected enterprises and the sale of "assets" (i.e., commercially viable component units) of larger enterprises.
As of 2008, inflation stood at 7.8%, up from 4.8% in 2007 estimated by the BNR at coming within 6% for the year 2006 (the year-on-year CPI, published in March 2007, is 3.66%). Also, since 2001, the economy has grown steadily at around 6–8%. Therefore, the PPP per capita GDP of Romania in 2008 was estimated to be between $12,200 and $14,064.
Financial and technical assistance continued to flow in from the U.S., European Union, other industrial nations, and international financial institutions facilitating Romania's reintegration into the world economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) all had programs and resident representatives in Romania. Romania also attracted foreign direct investment, which in 2008 rose to $72 billion.
Romania was the largest U.S. trading partner in Central-Eastern Europe until Ceauşescu's 1988 renunciation of Most Favored Nation (non-discriminatory) trading status, the latter of which resulted in high U.S. tariffs on Romanian products. Congress approved restoration of the MFN status effective 8 November 1993, as part of a new bilateral trade agreement. Tariffs on most Romanian products dropped to zero in February 1994 with the inclusion of Romania in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Major Romanian exports to the U.S. include shoes and clothing, steel, and chemicals.
Romania signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1992 and a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1993, codifying Romania's access to European markets and creating the basic framework for further economic integration. At the Helsinki Summit in December 1999, the European Union invited Romania to formally begin accession negotiations. In 2002, the target date of 2007 was set for Romania, along with Bulgaria, for its accession efforts. This was confirmed in 2003 at the Thessaloniki Summit and then in early 2005 Romania and Bulgaria signed the adherence treaty to EU. They formally joined the EU on 1 January 2007.
During the latter part of the Ceauşescu period, Romania earned significant credits from several Arab countries, notably Iraq, for work related to the oil industry. In August 2005, Romania agreed to forgive 43% of the US$1.7 billion debt owed by an Iraq still largely occupied by the military forces of the U.S.-led "Coalition of the Willing", making Romania the first country outside of the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations to forgive Iraqi debts.
Growth in 2000–07 was supported by exports to the EU, primarily to Italy and Germany, and a strong recovery of foreign and domestic investment. Domestic demand is playing an ever more important role in underpinning growth as interest rates drop and the availability of credit cards and mortgages increases. Current account deficits of around 2% of GDP are beginning to decline as demand for Romanian products in the European Union increases. Recent accession to the EU gives further impetus and direction to structural reform.
In early 2004 the government passed increases in the Value Added Tax (VAT) and tightened eligibility for social benefits with the intention to bring the public finance gap down to 4% of GDP by 2006, but more difficult pension and healthcare reforms will have to wait until after the next elections. Privatization of the state-owned bank Banca Comercială Română took place in 2005. Intensified restructuring among large enterprises, improvements in the financial sector, and effective use of available EU funds is expected to accelerate economic growth. However, the Romanian economy was affected by the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 and contracted in 2009.
EU membership (2007)
On 1 January 2007 Romania entered the EU. This led to some immediate international trade liberalization, but there was no shock to the economy. The government is running annual surpluses of above 2%.
This is to be contrasted with enormous current account deficits. Low interest rates guarantee availability of funds for investment and consumption. For example, a boom in the real estate market started around 2000 and has not subsided yet. At the same time annual inflation in the economy is variable and during the mid-2000s (2003–2008) has seen a low of 2.3% and high of 7.8%.
Most importantly, this poses a threat to the country's accession to the Eurozone. The Romanian government initially planned for the euro to replace the leu in 2012. However, experts predict that this might happen as late as in 2014. From a political point of view, there is a trade-off between Romania's economic growth and the stability required for early accession to the monetary union.[clarification needed] Romania's per-capita PPP GDP is still only about a 40% of the EU average, while the country's nominal GDP per capita is about 25% of the EU average.
In the winter of 2004 the government introduced a flat tax of 16% that was introduced on 1 January 2005. This is done in hope for higher GDP growth and greater tax collection rates. The reform, which some called a "revolution" in taxation, was met with mild discussions and some protests by affected working classes. Romania subsequently enjoyed the lowest fiscal burden in the European Union, until Bulgaria also switched to a flat tax of 10% in 2007.
The accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union has given the Union access to the Black Sea.
2009 IMF loan
At the end of March 2009 Romania signed a deal for 20 billion Euro in loan: 12.95 Billion Euro will come from the IMF; 5 Billion Euro will come from the European Union; 1.5 Billion – from the World Bank and about 1 Billion – from other international financial institutions. The interest paid by Romania will be 3.5% per year. In return for the loan, Romanian has committed to severe cuts in public spending and wages. One year later, the government cut civil servants' wages by 25%, while thousands of state jobs were axed and VAT was increased by 19% to 24%.
In the Romanian press the economy has been referred to as the "Tiger of the East" during the 2000s. Romania is a country of considerable economic potential: over 10 million hectares of agricultural land, diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, nuclear and wind), a substantial, if aging, manufacturing base and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the mountains.
GDP growth reached 8.3% in 2006 according to the statistical office of the Romania (the year-to-year growth amounted to unexpected 9.8% in the 3rd quarter of 2006 and stayed high at 9.5% year-to-year change in the 4th quarter of 2006), and 8.0% in 2007. Table showing selected PPP GDPs and growth – 2007 to 2018 estimations, as of April 2015:
in billions of USD PPP
|% GDP Growth|
Growing middle class
Romania has growing middle and upper classes with relatively high per capita incomes. World Bank estimated that in 2002 99% of the urban and 94% of the rural population had access to electricity. In 2004, 91% of the urban and only 16% of the rural population had access to improved water supply and 94% of the urban population had access to improved sanitation. In 2007 there were about 19.5 million mobile phone users in Romania and about 7 million internet users.
The net average monthly wage was 1,617 lei (€387) in March 2013. The net average monthly wage was 1,192 lei (roughly 380 USD) in March 2008, rose to 1,352 lei (430 USD) in 2009 and is expected to reach 1,819 lei (570 USD) by 2013. The income from salaries in Romania had the highest growth rate in the region during 2006.
Countries tend to benefit from sharing borders with developed markets as this facilitates trade and development. Below is a table of Romania's neighboring countries, their GDP per capita, and trade values between the pairs. In 2010, as little as 10.94pc of Romanian exports went to its neighbors; while 14.06pc of imports came from these five countries. For comparison, Germany alone accounted for 16.83pc of Romania's exports and 15.91pc of its imports.
USD per capita (2013)
US billions (2010)
of total exports
US billions (2010)
of total imports
The leu (pronounced [ˈlew]), plural: lei ([ˈlej]); ISO 4217 code RON; numeric code 946) is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani (singular: ban). On 1 July 2005, Romania underwent a currency reform, switching from the previous leu (ROL) to a new leu (RON). 1 RON is equal to 10,000 ROL. Romania joined the European Union on 1 January 2007 and initially hoped to adopt the euro in 2014, but with the deepening of the Euro crisis and with its own problems, such as a low workforce productivity, postponed its adoption plans indefinitely.
The fulfillment of the Maastricht criteria
Romania, as a member state of the European Union, is required to adopt the common European currency, the Euro. For this reason Romania must fulfil the 7 Maastricht criteria, of which it currently meets 4.
|Assessment month||Country||HICP inflation rate[nb 1]||Excessive deficit procedure||Exchange rate||Long-term interest rate[nb 2]||Compatibility of legislation|
|Budget deficit to GDP||Debt-to-GDP ratio||ERM II member||Change in rate[nb 3]|
|2012 ECB Report[nb 4]||Reference values||Max. 3.1%[nb 5]
(as of 31 Mar 2012)
|None open (as of 31 March 2012)||Min. 2 years
(as of 31 Mar 2012)
|Max. ±15%[nb 6]
|Max. 5.80%[nb 7]
(as of 31 Mar 2012)
(as of 31 Mar 2012)
(Fiscal year 2011)
(Fiscal year 2011)
|2013 ECB Report[nb 8]||Reference values||Max. 2.7%[nb 9]
(as of 30 Apr 2013)
|None open (as of 30 Apr 2013)||Min. 2 years
(as of 30 Apr 2013)
|Max. ±15%[nb 6]
|Max. 5.5%[nb 9]
(as of 30 Apr 2013)
(as of 30 Apr 2013)
(Fiscal year 2012)
(Fiscal year 2012)
|Romania||4.1%||Open (Closed in June 2013)||No||-5.2%||6.36%||Unknown|
|2014 ECB Report[nb 10]||Reference values||Max. 1.7%[nb 11]
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
|None open (as of 30 Apr 2014)||Min. 2 years
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
|Max. ±15%[nb 6]
|Max. 6.2%[nb 11]
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
(Fiscal year 2013)
(Fiscal year 2013)
- The 12-months average for the annual HICP inflation rate must be no more than 1.5% larger than the unweighted arithmetic average of the similar HICP inflation rates in the 3 EU member states with the lowest HICP inflation. If any of these 3 states have a HICP rate significantly below the similarly averaged HICP rate for the eurozone (which according to ECB practice means more than 2% below), and if this low HICP rate has been primarily caused by exceptional circumstances (i.e. severe wage cuts or a strong recession), then such a state is not included in the calculation of the reference value and is replaced by the EU state with the fourth lowest HICP rate.
- The annual average for the yield of 10-year government bonds must be no more than 2.0% larger than the unweighted arithmetic average of the bond yields in the 3 EU member states with the lowest HICP inflation. If any of these states have bond yields which are significantly larger than the similarly averaged yield for the eurozone (which according to previous ECB reports means more than 2% above) and at the same time does not have complete funding access to financial markets (which is the case for as long as a government receives bailout funds), then such a state is not be included in the calculation of the reference value.
- The change in the annual average exchange rate against the euro.
- Reference values from the ECB convergence report of May 2012.
- Sweden, Ireland and Slovenia were the reference states.
- The maximum allowed change in rate is ± 2.25% for Denmark.
- Sweden and Slovenia were the reference states, with Ireland excluded as an outlier.
- Reference values from the ECB convergence report of June 2013.
- Sweden, Latvia and Ireland were the reference states.
- Reference values from the ECB convergence report of June 2014.
- Latvia, Portugal and Ireland were the reference states.
Romania is an oil producer, but the current level of production is not enough to make the country self-sufficient. Although at one time it was Europe's largest producer of oil, most of its reserves were used and squandered during the Nicolae Ceauşescu period. As a result, it is today a net oil and gas importer.
The pipeline network in Romania included 2,427 km for crude oil, 3,850 km for petroleum products, and 3,508 km for natural gas in 2006. Several major new pipelines are planned, especially the Nabucco Pipeline for Caspian oilfields, the longest one in the world. Romania could cash in four billion dollars from the Constanta-Trieste pipeline.
Romania has considerable natural resources for a country of its size, including coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, uranium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestine (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), clay, arable land and hydropower.
Romania's mineral production is adequate to supply its manufacturing output. Energy needs are also met by importing bituminous and anthracite coal and crude petroleum. In 2007 approximately 34 million tons of coal, approximately 4,000 tons of tungsten, 565,000 tons of iron ore, and 47,000 tons of zinc ore were mined. Lesser amounts of copper, lead, molybdenum, gold, silver, kaolin, and fluorite also were mined.
The energy sector is dominated by state-owned companies such as Termoelectrica, Hidroelectrica and Nuclearelectrica. Fossil fuels are the country's primary source of energy, followed by hydroelectric power. Due to dependency on oil and gas imports from Russia, the country has placed an increasingly heavy emphasis on nuclear energy since the 1980s. The Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant is currently the only one of its kind in Romania, although there are plans to build a second one in Transylvania, possibly after 2020.
For domestic heating/cooking a large number (48%)of rural and small-town households use directly burned solid fuel (almost exclusively domestically produced wood) as the main energy source. http://www.cleancookstoves.org/countries/middle-east-and-europe/romania.html
Wind power had an installed capacity of 76 MW in 2008, and the country has the largest wind power potential in Southeast Europe, with Dobruja listed as the second best place in Europe to construct wind farms. As a result, there are currently investor connection requests for over 12,000 MW. There are also plans to build a number of solar power stations, such as the Covaci Solar Park, which will be one of the largest in the world.
Of the electricity generated in 2007, 13.1 percent came from nuclear plants then in operation, 41.69 percent from thermal plants (oil and coal), and 25.8 percent from hydroelectric sites.
The volume of traffic in Romania, especially goods transportation, has increased in recent years due to its strategic location in South-East Europe. In the past few decades, much of the freight traffic shifted from rail to road. A further strong increase of traffic is expected in the future.
As of June 2015, 694 km of motorways are in use with Timisoara-Lugoj 26 km also to be finished in 2015, Lugoj-Deva to be finished in 2016 while Sibiu-Pitesti is still tendering. The railway network, which was significantly expanded during the Communist years, is the fourth largest in Europe.
Bucharest is the only city in Romania which has an underground railway system, comprising both the Bucharest Metro and the light rail system managed by Regia Autonomă de Transport Bucureşti. Although construction was planned to begin in 1941, due to geo-political factors, the Bucharest Metro was only opened in 1979. Now it is one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport network with an average ridership of 800,000 passengers during the workweek. In total, the network is 67 km long and has 49 stations.
Sectors of the economy
Agriculture employs about 29% of the population (one of the highest rates in Europe), and contributes about 8.1% of GDP. The Bărăgan is characterized by large wheat farms. Dairy products, pork, poultry, and apple production are concentrated in the western region.
Beef production is located in central Romania, while the production of fruits, vegetables, and wine ranges from central to southern Romania. Romania is a large producer of many agricultural products and is currently expanding its forestry and fishery industries. The implementation of the reforms and the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have resulted in reforms in the agricultural sector of the economy.
Fishing is an economic mainstay in parts of the East of Romania and along the Black Sea coast, with important fish markets in places such as Constanta, Galati and Tulcea. Fish such as european anchovy, sprat, pontic shad, mullet, goby, whiting, garfish, Black-Sea Turbot or horse mackerel are landed at ports such as Constanta.
There has been a large scale decrease in employment in the fishing industry within Romania due to the EU's Common Fisheries Policy, which places restrictions on the total tonnage of catch that can be landed, caused by overfishing in the Black Sea. In tandem with the decline of sea-fishing, commercial fish farms – especially in salmon, have increased in prominence in the rivers and lochs of the east of Romania. Inland waters are rich in fresh water fish such as salmon, trout, and in particular, carp (which rather unfortunately has in Romanian the name crap) which traditionally has been the most popular fish, including its eggs (icre), fresh or canned.
Romania has been successful in developing its industrial sector in recent years. Industry and construction accounted for 32% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003, a comparatively large share even without taking into account related services. The sector employed 26.4% of the workforce. Romania excels in the production of automobiles, machine tools, and chemicals. In 2013, some 410,997 automobiles were produced in Romania, up from 78,165 in 2000.
In 2004 Romania enjoyed one of the largest world market share in machine tools (5.3%). Romanian-based companies such as Dacia, Petrom, Rompetrol, Bitdefender, Romstal and Mobexpert have expanded operations throughout the region. However, small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms form the bulk of Romania's industrial sector.
Romania's industrial output is expected to advance 9% in 2007, while agriculture output is projected to grow 12%. Final consumption is also expected to increase by 11% overall – individual consumption by 14.4% and collective consumption by 10.4%. Domestic demand is expected to go up 12.7%.
Industrial output growth was 6.9% year-on-year in December 2009, making it the highest in the EU-27 zone which averaged −1.9%.
In 2003 service sector constituted 55% of gross domestic product (GDP), and the sector employed 51.3% of the workforce. The subcomponents of services are financial, renting, and business activities (20.5%); trade, hotels and restaurants, and transport (18%); and other service activities (21.7%). The service sector in Romania has expanded in recent years, employing some 47% of Romanians and accounting for slightly more than half of GDP.
The largest employer is the retail sector, employing almost 12% of Romanians. The retail industry is mainly concentrated in a relatively small number of chain stores clustered together in shopping malls. In recent years the rise of big-box stores, such as Cora (hypermarket) (of the France) and Carrefour (a subsidiary of the French), have led to fewer workers in this sector and a migration of retail jobs to the suburbs.
The strength of the Romanian economy varies from region to region. GDP, and GDP per capita is highest in Bucharest. The following table shows the GDP (2005) per capita of the 4 counties and 2 areas, with data supplied by Eurostat.
|Rank||Place||GDP per capita
The highest GDP per capita is found in Bucharest and surrounding Ilfov County. Values well above the national average are found in Timiş, Argeş, Braşov, Cluj, Constanţa, Sibiu and Prahova. Values well below the national average are found in: Vaslui, Botoşani, Călăraşi, Neamţ, Vrancea, Suceava, Giurgiu, Mehedinţi, Olt and Teleorman.
Italy is Romania's largest trading partner; two-way trade totaled some $22.6 billion in 2007. The principal exports from Italy to Romania include computers, integrated circuits, aircraft parts and other defense equipment, wheat, and automobiles, along with remittances. Romania's chief exports to Italy include cut diamonds, jewelry, integrated circuits, printing machinery, and telecommunications equipment. 2.8% of the country's GDP is derived from Agricultural activity. While Romania imports substantial quantities of grain, it is largely self-sufficient in other agricultural products and food stuffs, due to the fact that food must be regulated for sale in the Romania retail market, and hence imports almost no food products from other countries.
Romania imported in 2006 food products of 2.4 billion euros, up almost 20% versus 2005, when the imports were worth slightly more than 2 billion euros. The EU is Romania's main partner in the trade with agri-food products. The exports to this destination represent 64%, and the imports from the EU countries represent 54%. Other important partners are the CEFTA countries, Turkey, Republic of Moldova and the USA. Despite a decline of the arms industry in the post-communist era, Romania is a significant exporter of military equipment, accounting for 3–4% of the world total in 2007. EU members are represented by a single official at the World Trade Organization.
During the first trimester of 2010, Romanian exports increased by 21%, one of the largest rates in the European Union, surpassed only by Malta. The trade deficit currently stands at roughly 2 billion EUR, the eighth largest in the EU.
Households with access to fixed and mobile telephone access
- landline telephone – 46% (2009)
- mobile telephone – 72% (2009)
Broadband penetration rate
- 13% (2010)
Individuals using computer and internet
- computer – 44% (2009)
- internet – 37% (2009)
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