Economy - overview: Romania, which joined the EU on 1 January 2007, began the transition from communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country's needs. Romania's macroeconomic gains have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and to address Romania's widespread poverty. Corruption and red tape continue to permeate the business environment.
In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Romania signed a $26 billion emergency assistance package from the IMF, the EU, and other international lenders, but GDP contracted until 2011. In March 2011, Romania and the IMF/EU/World Bank signed a 24-month precautionary standby agreement, worth $6.6 billion, to promote fiscal discipline, encourage progress on structural reforms, and strengthen financial sector stability; no funds were drawn. In September 2013, Romanian authorities and the IMF/EU agreed to a follow-on standby agreement, worth $5.4 billion, to continue with reforms. This agreement expired in September 2015, and no funds were drawn. Progress on structural reforms has been uneven, and the economy still is vulnerable to external shocks.
Economic growth rebounded in 2013-16, driven by strong industrial exports and excellent agricultural harvests, and the fiscal deficit was reduced substantially. Industry outperformed other sectors of the economy in 2016. Exports remained an engine of economic growth, led by trade with the EU, which accounts for roughly 70% of Romania trade. Domestic demand was a second driver, due to the mid-2015 cut, from 24% to 9%, of the VAT levied upon foodstuffs. In 2015, the government of Romania succeeded in meeting its annual target for the budget deficit, the external deficit remained low, even if it rose due to increasing imports. For the first time since 1989, inflation turned into deflation, allowing for a gradual loosening of monetary policy throughout the period.
An aging population, significant tax evasion, insufficient health care, and an aggressive loosening of the fiscal package jeopardize the low fiscal deficit and public debt and are the economy's top vulnerabilities.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on July 9, 2017