“BNR defends the leu below 4 units/euro, but the banking regulator has recently stopped to intervene in order to maintain the currency exchange rate at this psychological threshold. The leu’s sharp depreciation impacted borrowers of foreign currency loans, capped the further growth of lending and sped up the adjustment of the current account deficit”, reads the latest report of JP Morgan.

The economists at the US bank said the Romanian lawmakers would call for a loan from European Union and International Monetary Fund, same as other countries in the region did.

“Although the decline of the national currency is not a reason to call for help, the rapid slowdown of economic growth and budgetary difficulties will likely determine Romania to call for aid from IMF. The government has already abandoned most of the promises it made in the election campaign in an effort to keep the budget deficit under control”, reads JP Morgan research.

Romania’s economy will likely shrink by 3% in 2009, on lending slowdown and in a worst case scenario, the delinquency rate within Romanian lenders’ portfolios may reach even 15-20%, from below 3% late last year, study found.

“Romania’s economic growth was fueled by the widening of current account deficit on foreign currency lending. The state will have to face a piercing adjustment of the CA deficit, and our economists expect a real decrease of GDP by 3%, on lending slowdown”.

“We expect the total capital of the banking system at 4-5 bln euros at the end of 2008. Romanian lenders reported a loan default rate below 3% in 2008. In a worst case scenario, we would most likely see the loan default rate in Romania at 15-20%”, analysts added.