IMF: The accord has stabilized the financial system

Publish date: 23-09-2009
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The Romanian financial system has stabilized. But, the banking market is still fragile. Pressure on the exchange rate has dropped significantly. But, the economy is too weak to sustain the strengthening of the currency. The Romanian lending market is showing signs of rebounding. But, banks will not be able to do very much to relax real economy lending conditions.

This is how foreign analysts characterize Romania's economy, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the second tranche of its loan, which will inject €1.85 billion into the state's accounts.

"The leu has stabilized due to the policies of BNR [National Bank of Romania]. The reduction of the minimum compulsory reserves has brought more liquidity onto the market. This was a good decision, whose results we have seen. Of course, the money from the IMF has also been very important. We believe that the leu will remain stable in the period immediately ahead, but Romania's economy is too weak to sustain the currency," said Gaelle Blanchard, Emerging Markets Economist of the London branch of Societe Generale.

Neil Shearing, Emerging Markets Economist of Capital Economics in London, said that as soon as international market demand returns, the flexible exchange rate will offer the Romanian economy a competitive edge. "The leu has lost almost 15 percent since it reached a peak last year. We are expecting that once inflationary pressures abate, the central bank will relax the interest rate policy. We estimate that the key rate will drop to 6 percent. The banking sector, which we qualify as being rather fragile, will not be able to do very much to relax real economy lending conditions. A lot of good things have happened in Romania, but we must continue to be realistic," added Shearing.

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