Rating agency praises Romania
Győr-Gönyű port to be developed by June 2016
Liberalization of the Bulgarian energy market demands new laws
Introducing fuel price regulations or starting an investigation into the gas stations became more possible because petrol prices continue to rise in Lithuania. Deputy Stasys Brundza, MP, said on December 14th that petrol stations in his country “earn several times the margins they do in other Western countries”. “Petrol prices in Lithuania are still the most expensive in the Baltic states and prices are set to increase in the coming weeks. Orlen Lietuva has been raising its wholesale petrol prices since last Thursday, though oil prices are falling all over the world. Since Thursday the Mažekiai oil refinery has raised petrol prices by two cents – from 96 to 98 cents” – Delfi.lt reports. Meanwhile on Monday, December 14th oil prices fell sharply. Brent crude oil prices fell below the USD38 a barrel for the first time since December of 2008. Despite this prices of fuel in Lithuanian are expected to continue growing. Petrol companies don’t see anything wrong with that. Delfi.lt cites Orlen Lietuva representative who claims Orlen plays according to the rules of an international market. One litre of Super 95 costs EUR1.09 in Lithuania, while it’s EUR1.20 in Slovakia, 1.10 in Hungary. Members of Lithuaniam parliament claim the National Commission for Energy Control and Prices should investigate this.
According to Moody’s rating agency, Romania did a “significant progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances, reducing economy vulnerability to external shocks and sizeable fiscal adjustment”. That’s why the agency’s just improved Romania’s government bond rating outlook to positive from stable. Romania’ rating is Baa3.
CEEMarketWatch listed all those positive factors:
- narrowing country’s trade deficit to 4.2 per cent of GDP in 2014 from more than 16.0 per cent in 2007, mainly over a notable increase in exports;
- declining net international investment debtor position to below 60 per cent of GDP;
- gross external debt fell below 50 per cent of GDP;
- reduced financial debt ratios, and decline of NPLs;
- improvement in price and non-price competitiveness;
- narrowing of the fiscal deficit to 1.4 per cent of GDP in 2014 from around 9.0 per cent of GDP in 2009,
- stabilization of government’s debt-to-GDP ratio, seen at 39.4 per cent in 2015”.
The agency states it praised Romanian policies that focus on reducing fiscal deficits and comparatively low debt-to-GDP ratio. As the agency expressed in its press release further improvements “in institutional framework and capacity over continued integration with the EU” are expected. “Fitch affirmed Romania’s sovereign rating at BBB- with stable outlook in August and S&P did so in October. The Japan Credit Ratings Agency (JCRA) improved the outlook on Romania’s fx and local currency government debt BBB-/BBB ratings, to positive from stable, in April” – CEEMarketWatch writes.
“Infrastructural developments at the Győr-Gönyű port on the Danube, northwestern Hungary, are expected to be completed in June 2016, creating new ship berths and a direct railway-waterway transport link” – Budapest Business Journal cites Ákos Kara, ministerial commissioner for the investment state secretary of the National Development Ministry. The investment costs HUF7.9 bn. Substantial part of that sum (HUF5.8 bn) will be covered by the European Union and national funding.
That strategic project was initiated 2013. The consortium started works in the area in August 2015. Thanks to the development the port’s capacity is to be extended by two-thirds.
“Bulgaria’s energy legislation needs urgent amendments early next year amid steps to liberalize the energy market”, said Ivan Ivanov, the chief of Bulgarian Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (KEVR), during a hearing in parliament, before the first test launch of the energy exchange in Sofia. One of the laws includes transposition of EU regulations on wholesale market transparency, providing an alternative status to state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK).
EC’s official: there’s no alternative to market liberalization
Novinite.com published an interesting interview with Klaus-Dieter Borchard, the Director of Internal Energy Market at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy. Mr. Borchard listed the origins of crisis in Bulgarian Energy sector: a) an old fashioned regulatory framework, b) too much badly targeted state interventions, c) lack of competition. He said this all didn’t create enough incentives for new investments “necessary in order to modernize and transform the energy system” into sufficient and secure one. “There is no alternative to market liberalization and fill integration into the Single European Energy Market”, Borchardt said when asked whether there are more challenges of advantages for Bulgaria in connection with the reform.
Regarding the whole energy sector, Mr. Borchardt said that thanks to cooperation with European Union, Bulgaria can become a “regional gas hub”. It’s because of its geographic location and existing gas infrastructure. “However, to achieve this objective Bulgaria must become a regulatory model in the South-Eastern European region and fulfil a number of essential prerequisites, in particular have access to diversified gas sources, develop infrastructure connecting Bulgaria to neighboring countries and establish a well-developed trading environment”. And that is a challenge.
Novinite.com also asked Mr. Borchard what measures EU takes to fight the problem of energy poverty. “At EU level we have adopted in the framework of the London Forum for consumers recommendations and best practices. It is for the Member states to come forward with the needed measure targeted to the specific situation in the respective country. There is not a one fits all solution; fighting energy poverty has to take the national specificities into account”, he answered.
What’s up in indexes?
It was a black Monday. For the first day of this quarter all the indexes dropped.
BUX (of Budapest) dropped by 0.52 per cent on Monday, December 14th ending with 23005.73 index points. The day before it was 23125.86 index points. From year-end it’s up 38.31 per cent.
BET (of Bucharest Stock Exchange) closed at 6881.48 index points on Monday, December 14th, dropping by 0.88 per cent. The previous close was at 6942.66 index points. From year-end it lost 2.85 per cent.
PX (of Prague) lost 0.32 per cent falling from 922.71 index points Friday to 919.73 per cent Monday. From year-end it dropped by 2.85 per cent.
WIG20 (of Warsaw) dropped by 0.15 per cent. It decreased from 1757.37 index points Friday to 1754.74 index points Monday. From year-end it dropped by 24.23 per cent.
OMXT (of Tallinn) lost 1.15 per cent. On Monday it closed at 890.25 index points while the previous close was at 900.62 index points. From year-end it’s up 17.91 per cent.
OMXR (of Riga) decreased from 582.74 index points Friday to 573.15 index points Monday. So it dropped by 1.65 per cent d/d but from year-end it’s up 40.47 per cent.
OMXV (of Vilnius) was down by 0.42 per cent. On Monday it closed at 481.65 index points while the previous close was at 483.67 index points. But it’s up 6.46 per cent from year-end.
SAX (of Bratislava) dropped by 0.05 per cent. On Monday it closed at 295.10 index points while on Friday it was 295.26 index points. From year-end it’s up 32.74 index points.
SOFIX (of Sofia) lost 0.37 per cent closing at 434.95 index points. The previous result (Friday) was 436.58 index points. It’s also down from year-end: by 16.69 per cent.
UX (of Kyiv) dropped by 2.44 per cent. It decreased from 694.89 index points Friday to 677.95 index points Monday. And from year-end it dropped by 34.39 per cent.
CROBEX (of Zagreb Stock Exchange) lost 0.42 per cent on Monday, December 14th. It closed at 1653.09 index points. On Friday it closed at 1659.99 index points. From year-end it lost 5.29 per cent.