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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Due to the 2009 financial crisis, Romania endured an economic slowdown, especially in the automobile sector, which is subject to foreign demand. Financial difficulties pushed the country to seek financial help from the IMF, the European Commission and the World Bank. More recently, the Romanian economy was among the fastest-growing in the EU; nevertheless, the global crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in GDP in 2020, from which the country recovered fast in 2021. In 2022, the country continued on its growth path, with an estimated GDP increase of 4.5% thanks to strong gross fixed capital formation and private consumption (EU Commission). For 2023, the negative effect of still high inflation, tight financing conditions and weaker performance of partner economies are all set to lower Romania’s real GDP growth to 2.5% (3.1% according to the IMF), with investment expected to remain strong, supported by the Recovery and Resilience Facility and other EU Funds. As internal and external conditions improve, the economy is expected to grow by 3% in 2024.

Concerning public finances, the country experienced an expansionary trend in recent years, with a government deficit averaging above 4%, largely driven by pension increases. This trend was reinforced by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and of the measures taken to mitigate the impact of high energy prices, resulting in an estimated budget deficit of 5.8% of GDP in 2022. As the energy support schemes (including caps on electricity and gas to households and to a lesser extent firms) will be financed by windfall taxes, the impact on the budget should be limited in 2023, with the IMF projecting the deficit at 4.7% of GDP. At 49.7% in 2022, the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to follow an upward trend over the forecast horizon, at 51.7% this year and 51.9% in 2024 (IMF). The 12-month average inflation stood at 12% in 2022 (EU Commission) as a consequence of high energy and food prices and the spill-over effect on other components. HICP inflation is projected at 9.7% for 2023 before slowing down to 5.5% in 2024 due to the extension of the energy price cap, lower commodity prices and base effects kicking in.

An ageing population, the emigration of skilled labour, significant tax evasion, insufficient health care, and an aggressive loosening of the fiscal package may compromise Romania’s long-term growth and economic stability and are the economy's top vulnerabilities. Despite a relatively low level of unemployment (at 5.5% in 2022), Romania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe, with 34.4% of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion (the highest ratio in the EU - data by Eurostat). The IMF estimated the country’s GDP per capita (PPP) at USD 38,097 in 2022, still 29.4% below the EU average.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 301.27350.41382.93408.35436.36
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 15,82118,41320,21421,68423,316
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -5.9-5.9-5.9-5.8-5.6
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 50.551.052.755.257.1
Inflation Rate (%) n/a10.
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -28.13-25.55-27.24-28.56-28.77
Current Account (in % of GDP) -9.3-7.3-7.1-7.0-6.6

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

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Main Sectors of Industry

Romania has a labour force of 8.38 million people out of its 19.1 million population, though this number has been decreasing over the last decade due to the massive migration of Romanian workers to Western European countries. Agriculture represents around 4.3% of Romania's GDP and employs 21% of the country's active population (World Bank, latest data available). The main resources and agricultural production in Romania are cereals, sugar beets and potatoes. However, production remains very low in comparison with the country's potential capacity (more than one-third of the land is arable). About 25% of the country is covered by forests (especially around Transylvania), and the logging industry is developing very fast. Romania has a limited energy dependence thanks to coal, oil, gas and uranium reserves. According to data from Eurostat, Romania is0 the seventh-biggest agricultural producer in the European Union. The turnover of Romanian agricultural companies was estimated at RON 58 billion in 2022, a record level due to inflationary pressures and subsidies granted by the authorities, which counterbalanced a marked decrease in crop production (KeysFin).

The industrial sector contributes 27.8% of the country's GDP and employs 30% of the active population. Thanks to inexpensive labour, its industry is diversified and competitive. Historically, manufacturing companies and the industrial sector represent the backbone of Romania's economy. For this reason, foreign direct investors are involved in heavy industry (metallurgy, steel), the manufacturing of vehicle parts, building and construction, petroleum refining and textiles. According to figures from the World Bank, the manufacturing sector alone contributes 16% of GDP. Data from the national statistical office show that Romania's industrial production fell by an unadjusted 1.8% year-on-year in 2022 due to drops in electricity, thermal energy, gas, steam and air conditioning production and supply (-9.4%), mining industry (-2.8%) and processing industry (-0.4%).

Romania's economy is mainly centred on the services sector, which represents 58.2% of GDP and employs around 49% of the nation's workforce. Tourism, in particular, has been booming in recent years, reaching an all-time high of 13.26 million in 2019 (between domestic and foreign tourism). The sector showed positive signs of recovery in the first ten months of 2022 when the total number of tourists reached 9.6 million (of which 13.7% were foreigners – data INSEE). The technology sector has also seen consistent growth in recent years, due to the emergence of a high-qualified workforce whose cost is lower than the European average. Romania's ITC sector accounts for around 6.2% of GDP (Romanian Software Industry Association). The Romanian banking sector comprises 34 credit institutions: three banks with full or majority Romanian state-owned capital, four credit institutions with majority domestic, private capital, 19 banks with majority foreign capital and eight branches of foreign banks. About 68.2% of the Romanian banking sector’s assets are held by institutions with foreign capital (European Banking Federation).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 18.6 30.4 51.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 4.5 28.8 57.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) -11.6 0.5 7.7

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Romanian New Leu (RON) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Romania is open to foreign trade, which represents 87% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The country mainly exports machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, sound and image recorders and reproducers (26.3%); vehicles and associated transport equipment (15.5%); base metals and articles of base metals (10.1%); and mineral products (7.6%). Imports are led by machinery (24.2%); mineral products (12.6%); chemical products (11%); and base metals (10.9% - data INSEE 2022).

The European Union is the main trading partner, accounting for 72.6% of total exports and 70.7% of imports in the first eleven months of 2022. The leading countries for exports were Germany (20%), Italy (10.1%), Hungary (7.3%), and France (6%). Imports follow a similar path, with Germany (17.8%) being the main destination for Romania’s exports, followed by Italy (8.2%), Bulgaria (6.8%), Hungary (6.5%), Poland and China (5.9% each – data INSEE).

Romania’s foreign trade figures for 2021 published by WTO show that merchandise exports amounted to USD 87.3 billion (+23.5% year-on-year), while imports increased at a faster pace (+26.1%), to USD 116.2 billion. On the other hand, the country is a net exporter of commercial services, with exports totalling USD 33 billion against USD 21.7 billion in imports (+22% and +33.3%, respectively). Overall, Romania has a structurally negative trade balance, which has been widening in recent years: for 2021, it stood at around 5.7% of the country’s GDP (from 4.3% one year earlier - World Bank). According to figures from the national statistical office INSEE, in the first eleven months of 2022 exports of goods totalled EUR 85.2 billion (+25% y-o-y) against EUR 116.2 billion in imports (+29.9 y-o-y).

Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 97,74796,54492,132116,203132,491
Exports of Goods (million USD) 79,66076,87170,71887,38896,707
Imports of Services (million USD) 18,22020,61416,32421,85125,548
Exports of Services (million USD) 28,09130,30227,09232,99838,918

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 86.584.578.187.092.0
Trade Balance (million USD) -18,019-19,960-21,676-27,291-33,923
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -8,157-10,282-10,875-16,177-20,618
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.68.6-
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.35.4-9.512.68.6
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44.944.341.246.349.4
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 41.540.236.940.642.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Member of the European Union
Member of the European Economic Area which has guaranteed, since 1 January 1993, the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral agreements and bilateral agreements with many countries.

Member of the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting).


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Germany 19.8%
Italy 10.1%
Hungary 7.3%
France 6.0%
Bulgaria 3.9%
See More Countries 52.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Germany 17.8%
Italy 8.2%
Bulgaria 7.1%
Hungary 6.5%
Poland 5.9%
See More Countries 54.5%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Klaus IOHANNIS (since 21 December 2014 ; re-elected in the 2019 presidential election)
Prime Minister: Nicolae CIUCA (since 25 November 2021)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: November 2024
Chamber of Deputies and Senate: 2024
Main Political Parties
The main political parties in the country are:

- National Liberal Party (PNL): centre-right, conservative, pro-European, heads current governmental alliance
- Social Democratic Party (PSD): centre-left
- Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR): supports minority Hungarian interests, liberal conservatism
- Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR): right-wing, conservative, nationalist
- Save Romania Union (USR): syncretic, liberal
- People's Movement Party (PMP): centre right
Executive Power
The President is the Head of State and is elected by universal suffrage for a term of five years renewable once. The President is also the Commander in Chief of the army and is responsible for protecting the Constitution. Under the Romanian Constitution, the President acts as a mediator between the various centres of power in the country. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President (and is usually the leader of the majority party) for a term of four years. The Prime Minister is the Head of Government and holds executive power, including law enforcement and management of the affairs of the country. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Romania is bicameral. The Parliament consists of: the Senate (the upper house) having 136 seats and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) having 330 seats. The members of both houses are elected by direct, popular vote on a proportional representation basis to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of the Government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the Parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. The Prime Minister does not have the power to dissolve the Parliament directly, but the President can do so after consultation with the political parties represented in the two houses. The people of Romania have considerable political rights.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
The summary of the EU’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the website of the European Council.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) in Romania, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.