BURSA 01.04.2017

ADINA ARDELEANU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
 
mărește imaginea
     *  Energy Ministry: "The liberalization will only apply to the acquisition price of natural gas, which only represents one factor of the final price paid by household consumers"
     *  ANRE: "Any household customer has the option to stay with the regulated market or to stay with the competition-based market"
     *  The government wants to keep the tax on additional revenues earned from the deregulation of natural gas prices
       The intense debates in the Industries Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, about Government Emergency Ordinance 64/2016 concerning the liberalization of the natural gas market did not yield any results, because the Ministry of Energy thought that there are no technical arguments for Romania postponing that process again.
     As a result, the Ministry announced that the liberalization of the price of domestically produced natural gas will come into effect starting on April 1st.
     Essentially, this will be a semi-liberalization, because the Energy Ministry officials said that starting Saturday, the liberalization will apply strictly to the purchase price for natural gas, which represents only one element of the final price paid by the household consumers, together with the transport, distribution, provision and storage tariffs that are part of the final bill paid by the end users. These elements are supplemented, however, by the excises, overtaxation and VAT, which together account for one third of the final price paid by consumers.
     Energy minister Toma Petcu recently said that the liberalization of the price of natural gas would be done in two steps: the market between producers and suppliers will be liberalized this year, and the next stage of the liberalization of prices between suppliers and household customers, would end in 2021. He claimed that, following the analyses of the ANRE, by the end of the year, the final price of natural gas for the population could increase by at most 8.5%.
     On Thursday, the Energy minister reiterated that the concerns over a substantial increase in the price of natural gas paid by the population following the liberalization are unjustified.
     "The population will be protected until June 30, 2021 through end user prices regulated by the National Energy Regulatory Authority. Another advantage would be that after April 1st, 2017, the trading of natural gas will be done under circumstances of economic efficiency, through a transparent acquisition process that will allow all participants indiscriminate access to the market", Toma Petcu said.
     Three days ago, the president of the National Authority for the Regulation of Energy (ANRE), Niculae Havrileț, said that starting on April 1st, the final price for household consumers may increase by 1-2%, following the liberalization of the price of domestically produced natural gas, according to Agerpres.
     The Energy Regulatory Committee approved in Thursday's meeting the prices for the regulated provision of natural gas for the 38 natural gas providers, and the adjustment for household customers will be about 2%, starting with April 1st, 2017.
     "Even if the domestic natural gas production gets liberalized, the ANRE still has the obligation to set regulated prices for household consumers, and thus, to monitor the evolution of the competitive natural gas market", the ANRE states in a press release.
     Any household customer currently has the option to stay in the regulated market - where natural gas will be supplied based on framework-agreements of regulated provision and at a regulated price, both set by the ANRE, or to move to the competitive market - where the supplier sells natural gas to the end customer at the price and under the terms agreed with the supplier, through negotiation or, as the case may be, at the price and under the terms set through the standard offer that the end customer in question opted for, according to the ANRE.
     The Energy Ministry said on Thursday that it has not identified arguments that would support postponing the liberalization, while, on the other hand a series of risks exist. "I am first of all referring to the takeover by the European Commission of the procedure by which the Romanian state can incur European fines, as well as the loss of over 180 million Euros for the BRUA interconnection, which is so needed for Romania's gas supply", said Energy minister Toma Petcu.
     According to some sources in Brussels, the European Commission had agreed to a three-month postponement of the liberalization.
     * Liberalization, but with the taxes still in place
     Politicians and state institutions are lying, perpetuating the idea that the regulation of the price of natural gas is done in order to keep prices low for the benefit of citizens, Gabriel Dumitrașcu the former head of the privatization department of the Ministry of Energy said recently.
     He says that he thought that the Government opposed the liberalization of the market because that would also imply foregoing the overtaxation of the additional revenues obtained through liberalization, which concerns producers and suppliers of natural gas, which would result in a loss of state budget revenues of over 850 million lei a year.
     But even though it is going ahead with the liberalization of the natural gas starting with April 1st, the Government wants to keep the tax on additional revenues earned through the deregulation of natural gas prices (60%, currently), according to a draft emergency ordinance, posted on the website of the Finance Ministry.
     The Emergency Ordinance draft was passed on Thursday in a Government meeting.
     According to the argumentation note, the passing of the law is caused by the need to maintain the budget earnings stemming from the taxes on supplemental revenues earned following the deregulation of prices in the natural gas sector.
     The government intends to change the term that refers to the regulated price in the formula used to calculate the tax, with a reference to the price realized on the centralized, competitive market - namely the median weighted price of natural gas produced domestically pertaining to the volumes sold on the centralized/competitive market for household consumers.
     Market voices claim that it is unclear how the median weighted price is set and by whom.
     The ordinance draft was not included on Thursday on the official agenda of the Government meeting, but was instead included in the additional drafts put up for discussion. 
 

 
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Aceeasi sectiune (English Section)
AFTER BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE TAX ADMINISTRATION AND THE ANPC, BANKS GET INVESTIGATED BY THE COMPETITION COUNCIL
THE COURT RULED THAT SOME CONTRACTS CONCLUDED BY CELL PHONE COMPANIES INCLUDE ABUSIVE CLAUSES
AFTER THE TRANSACTION BETWEEN BANCA TRANSILVANIA AND BANCPOST
PATRICIA SUÁREZ RAMÍREZ, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FINANCIAL CONSUMERS OF SPAIN:
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English Section
12.12.2017
AFTER BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE TAX ADMINISTRATION AND THE ANPC, BANKS GET INVESTIGATED BY THE COMPETITION COUNCIL
     * Chirițoiu: "We suspect an exchange of sensitive information on the banking market"
     * Dan Suciu, NBR: "The audits of the Competition Council can't be a reason for panic whatsoever"
     * Unannounced audit at Finmedia
     * The investigated institutions are at risk of being fined 10% of their turnover
     * Vasilescu: "The NBR has nothing to do with these investigations"
       The financial banking system seems to be the focus of most of the investigation entities. After being audited by the National Tax Administration Agency (ANAF) and by the National Consumer Protection Authority (ANPC), some of the banks which operate in Romania have also been investigated by the Competition Council (CC).  details
11.12.2017
THE COURT RULED THAT SOME CONTRACTS CONCLUDED BY CELL PHONE COMPANIES INCLUDE ABUSIVE CLAUSES
     * The Bucharest Court of Appeal Bucharest yesterday ruled that RCS&RDS has abusive clauses in its contracts
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     * Vodafone has lost the case in the court of last instance against the ANPC
       The Courts have decided that some contracts concluded by the telephony companies contain abusive clauses. The Court rulings were rendered last year, as well as in 2016, but the argumentations have been formulated relatively recently.  details
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AFTER THE DRAFT HAD BEEN PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER
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     * Last year, the Court of Auditors announced that Romania lost 1.4 billion dollars, because the ANRM established the oil royalties in a flawed manner
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PATRICIA SUÁREZ RAMÍREZ, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FINANCIAL CONSUMERS OF SPAIN:
     * The head of the ASUFIN: "The ruling of the Supreme Court of Spain in which the Andriciuc case has been invoked will be part of the Spanish case law and the lower courts will be required to apply the principle that underlies this decision"
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       The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Liviu Dragnea, leader of the PSD, thinks that his enemies are hiding behind some institutions, "they crucify people", and the real stake is "the blocking of the Laws concerning the Justice system".  details
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ANPC STRIKES AGAIN
     * BCR: "Ongoing contracts no longer contain the clauses that have been subjected to examination"
     * Sources: "ANPC has 6 lawsuits against BCR, which will lead to enormous losses for Erste Bank if BCR loses in court"
       After forcing Raiffeisen Bank to eliminate the unfair practices from the loan agreements, the National Consumer Protection Authority (ANPC) strikes again, this time the biggest bank in the system. BCR lost in the court of first instance, against the ANPC, in a class action lawsuit concerning abusive lending clauses.  details
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THE QUICK RISE OF THE INDEX WHICH SETS THE TREND FOR INTEREST RATES ON LOANS DENOMINATED IN LEI ISN'T STOPPING
     The 3-month ROBOR rate, which is used to calculate the interest rates, the majority of the loans denominated in lei, has jumped past the 2% psychological level, and yesterday reached 2.06%, up from Tuesday's 1.92%, according to data from the NBR.  details
16.11.2017
THE PARLIAMENT IS ASKING FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING THE INVESTIGATIONS WHICH OMV PETROM HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO
     * Minister Toma Petcu, former ministers Răzvan Nicolescu and Victor Grigorescu, the representatives of the state in the executive structure of OMV Petrom and Mihai Busuioc, the president of the Court of Auditors were heard today in the Investigation Commission
       The executives of OMV Petrom mentioned, in a letter addressed to the parliament, the existence of four lawsuits brought by the National Energy Regulation Authority (ANRE) and of seven audits by the Authority, between 2012-2017, as the recent request for information by the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE targeted a period of 12 years, from 2015 to 2017.  details
14.11.2017
THE EURO AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH
     * Vasilescu: "We cannot say that the currency market has gone off the rails, the exchange rate has moved 4 bani in 4 days"
     * "Perhaps it is a simple coincidence the fact that on November 8th was approved the Emergency Ordinance of the Fiscal Code and it was also on that day that the Euro rose past 4.6 lei", said Mr. Vasilescu
       The leu yesterday reached a historic low against the Euro, 4.6495 lei/Euro, up 1.05 over the previous meeting, marking the fourth day where the exchange rate was above 4.6 lei.  details
13.11.2017
     In October, the Romanian Commercial Bank, through Schoenherr și Asociații, has submitted, with the County Court of Bihor, a request for the insolvency of the European Drinks group, owned by the Micula brothers. That group includes: European Drinks, Transilvania General Import-Export, European Food, Starmill SRL, Scandic Distilleries SA, Rieni Drinks.  details
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