“After a 7.1% economic growth in 2008, a first sign of overheating, we forecast 7.1% economic contraction in 2009. We also forecast a weak activity in agriculture this year”, ING Bank said.

Furthermore ING’s analysts expect the economic growth to turn positive as late as in first quarter 2010.

“Apart from the global recession, there are other factors responsible for the contraction of the Romanian economy. The April statistics made public this week were generally weaker than we had expected: construction sector dropped 13.7%, industrial production by nearly 10% and retail industry by 10.3%. Except for the industry, the other sectors deteriorated compared to first quarter, heralding a further decline in the second quarter 2009”, ING said.

On the other hand, ING’s analysts outline the ongoing weakening of the lending activity, while outlook remains negative.

“Given the discouraging data on GDP and somber forecasts both nationally and regionally, we think there are enough reasons to revise our economic growth projection from -3.5% to -7.1%”.