Comment: Romania’s record economic growth comes from malls, supermarkets and glass buildings

Commerce, IT and communications, and support services contributed with 3.1 percentage points to Romania’s 4.8% economic growth in 2016, the highest in the last eight years, according to official data from the National Statistics Institute (INS).

The retail, wholesale, transport and logistic, hotel and restaurant sector, which generate some 18.1% of Romania’s gross domestic product (GDP), went up by 10.9% last year, contributing with 1.8 pp to the overall GDP growth.

The information and communication sector, which includes IT&C services and telecom services, contributed another 0.7 pp to the economic growth. This sector only represents 5.6% of the total GDP, but saw a 14.2% increase in volume in 2016.

The professional, scientific, and technical services; administrative services; and support services, which cover the various research and support centers opened by big international companies in Romania in recent years, added another 0.6 pp to the economic growth. This sector has a share of 7.4% in the GDP and saw an 8% increase last year.

The IT&C and support services sectors have also been the main drivers for the real estate and construction sectors in recent years. These sectors push up the demand for new office buildings and the demand for new houses as the young professionals who work in these areas are also the ones who afford and seek to buy new houses. The construction sector and the real estate sector both added some 0.1 pp to the economic growth.

Thus, simplifying everything in one headline, one can state that most of Romania’s economic growth comes from malls, supermarkets, and glass buildings, and, of course, the whole activity chain that stands behind these modern facades, namely logistic centers, suppliers, construction sites, etc.

Meanwhile, industry, which was Romania’s main GDP growth engine in the first years of economic recovery, had a contribution of only 0.4 pp last year. Industry generates some 23.1% of Romania’s GDP, but the growth in this sector fell to just 1.7% last year.

Romania’s GDP reached EUR 169 billion last year, the highest nominal value ever, according to INS estimates. By comparison, in 2006, the year before Romania joined the EU, the country’s nominal GDP was EUR 98 billion.

Most of the malls, supermarkets, and glass buildings, and many of the factories that have been driving Romania’s economy up in recent years have been built after Romania joined the EU, driven by foreign investment. Those who now say we don’t need the EU and multinationals while reaping the benefits, should take a closer look at these figures.

By Andrei Chirileasa, Editor-in-Chief

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