Thursday, March 19, 2009

IMF: Romania's 2009 GDP forecast to minus 4%

BUCHAREST, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund(IMF) forecasted Romania's gross domestic product in 2009 to minus3 percent or even minus 4 percent, Mihai Tanasescu, Romanian representative to the international lender, said on Wednesday.

IMF's report said that Romanian budget deficit might be higher than 4 percent of the GDP, significantly above the 3 percent Maastricht Treaty threshold, according to Tanasescu, a former Finance Ministry from December 2000 to December 2004.

Last Thursday, Romania's Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea said that the country is considering an economic growth at between minus one percent and 1.5 percent, although this year's state budget is built on 2.5 percent growth.

The European Commission recently revised downwards Romania's projected growth to 0 - 0.5 percent, after having previously estimated the Romanian GDP would expand at 1.8 percent this year.

In 2008 Romania recorded 7.1 percent economic growth, but such pace slowed down to 2.9 percent in the last quarter.

An IMF mission is visiting Bucharest over March 11-25 in order to continue its assessment of the Romanian macroeconomic conditions.

The delegation will hold talks on a possible IMF program for Romania. Such program will be part of a multilateral pro-active and safety financial package to be backed by the European Union and the World Bank among other international financial institutions.

According to government sources, the Romanian authorities intend to borrow 19 billion euros (23.75 billion U.S. dollars), 12billion euros from the IMF and 7 billion euros from the EU, following an evaluation made by the Finance Ministry and the central bank.

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