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Start of work on the Danube bridge of Braila

Italian company Astaldi has started the construction works on the suspended bridge over the Danube in the Romanian metropolitan zone Galati - Braila, which is the most complex road infrastructure project in Romania since the fall of the communism in 1989.
The suspended bridge from Braila will be among the five longest bridges in Europe, with a central opening of 1.12 kilometers.
After the preliminary lands working, archaeological discharge and demining, Astaldi began the actual construction works of the future bridge in Braila.

With a value of RON 1.99 billion (EUR 425 million), plus VAT, the contract stretches over 12 months of design, 36 months of execution and a warranty period of 120 months. The order for the design phase of the Braila Bridge was issued in the first quarter of 2018.

According to the contract, the design should take 12 months, after which the 36-month construction will begin. In addition to the suspended bridge, the contract includes building two viaducts of 110 m in length, a road with a length of 19,095 km, and a connecting road with DN22 (Smardan - Macin), with a length of 4,328 km.

Start of the Galati Intermodal Terminal

The Administration Ports of the Maritime Danube (APDM) of Galati signed the contract for the "Elaboration of the technical project for the execution of investment works", part of the first phase of the intermodal terminal project which highlights the strategic position and technical facilities of the three ports of Galati with the creation of an intermodal fluvial maritime-railway terminal that will become a hub for the transport of goods between Asia and Western Europe, through the channel of Rhin-Main-Danube.

The value of the first phase, which will end on March 31, 2020 is 25.619.781 euros, of which, non-refundable funding from the European Commission through the mechanism to connect Europe of 21.776.814 euros, co-financing by the State of 3.450.053 euros and contributions from the private investors Metaltrade International Ltd. and New Port Basin of 392,914 euros.

At the end of the investment in the Galati intermodal terminal, the multimodal platform it could be transited by 300,000 containers, equivalent to 5-6 million tons of goods per year, and would create over 50,000 new jobs in 10 years.
This project will take place in two phases, due to budget constraints of the European Commission. From the EUR 80 million, estimated value of this project, the Commission was able to allocate only 25 million, which represents a part of the port infrastructure, pier and part of the eligible costs, including design.

The Real Estate Market in Romania

The Romanian real estate market seems to have ended its decline caused by the global economic crisis.
At national level, prices for homes are on average 10% higher than last year, according to a dedicated portal on the web. In late November, the average asking price for apartments was 980 Euro per sqm, which is 52.4% lower than the market peak, in March 2008, when sellers generally asked for 2,058 Euro per sqm. The lowest pricing level was reached in December 2014, when median figures on the above mentioned portal were around 891 Euro per sqm, 10% lower than at present. The market for older apartments and newly built evolved differently. In Bucharest, for instance, a brand new apartment cost 1,155 Euro per sqm in late October, 55% lower than the March 2008 peak. By comparison, an older apartment is now, on an average, 1,043 Euro per sqm, almost 53% less than on the peak market.
One factor that encouraged the residential real estate market was the 2009 government program called 'First Home',  which grants loans of up to EUR 70,000 with a down payments are only 5%, with below the market interest rates. The program was expanded, and the owners who used the First Home program could purchase a more spacious home with support from the National Loan Guarantee Fund for SMEs.
Romania right now is third in Central and Eastern Europe  after Poland and the Czech Republic in terms of real estate transactions, which in the first ten months of the year amounted to 600 million Euro, according to a study published by Jones Lang LaSalle Romania. In 2014, real estate transactions in this country amounted to 1.15 billion Euro, a record figure for the last few years. This figure was, among other things, a result of the store chain Auchan taking over the Real chain of stores, a transaction between 260-280 million Euro.

The Economic Forecasts for 2017

Economic forecasts indicate that Romania will continue to have a growing economy, but below that of 2016, estimated by international financial organizations and various experts at 4.5 to 5.2%. The European Commission expects the growth in 2017 to reach 3.9% from its expectation of 5.2% in 2016, while the World Bank estimates a growth of 3.8% in 2017, the same figure issued by the International Monetary Fund. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expects a 3.7% growth, matching Moody's 3.7% estimation, after issuing a forecast of 4.8% for 2016. The National Forecast Commission estimated 4.8% growth for 2016, and 4.2% for 2017.
 
According to a Moody's report, private consumption remains Romania's main engine for growth, though to a lesser extent than in 2016, considering expectations of higher oil prices and inflation. Continuing an expanding tax policy in 2017, including scrapping a tax on special purpose buildings and an additional fuel excise, as well as a cut in the VAT, will result in a deterioration of Romania's fiscal position. The agency expects the fiscal deficit to exceed 3% of the GDP in 2017, since measures increasing it would counter solid economic growth. Moody's expects Romania's credit rating to be negatively impacted by the deterioration of its fiscal policy, along with its effect on its fiscal position.
In his turn, economic analyst Constantin Rudnitchi explains: “We also have a piece of good news from statistics, the fact that investments start taking up a bigger slice of this economic growth, therefore this is a good thing, as investment may balance out a bit better against consumption in terms of economic growth".

Romania’s Economy 2015

The European Commission and the EBRD have upgraded their economic growth forecast for Romania.
According to estimates at this point, the European Commission has upgraded its economic growth forecast for Romania in 2015 to 3.5%, as opposed to the 2.8% it expected in May. The GDP is expected to grow by 4.1% in 2016, and by 3.6% in 2017, as a result of better consumption against tax cuts. Inflation is expected to stay at a negative 0.4% this year, and negative 0.3% next year, getting back to 2.3% in 2017.
Government debt is expected to go down to 39.4% of the GDP this year, going up subsequently to 40.9% of the GDP in 2016, and to 42.8% of the GDP in 2017. The budget deficit will reach 1.2% of the GDP this year, with 2.8% next year, and 3.7% the following year, according to the European Commission estimates.
The European Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, said that economic forecasts suggest that Romania’s economy will improve, which would not have been possible without decisive action in reforming public finance. He also added that continuing structural reform was extremely important, in addition to ensuring the sustainability of public finance and short and medium term economic growth through responsible budget policy.
According to a study conducted by Ernst&Young, Romanian business leaders are confident that their businesses will grow this year, just as the whole economy will. Over one third of business people expect their turnover to increase significantly, while half of them are optimistic about the country’s economic evolution.
The IMF has revised its economic growth forecast for Romania, from 2.7% to 3.4% this year and from 2.9% to 3.9% for 2016.
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