“The worst of the crisis is far from being over in terms of exports. Exports fell in early November by 20.1% compared to the same period of last year, and we expect a deficit of 20% at year-end. Imports will stand 35% below 2008 levels and trade deficit will hover near €8.5 billion this year, 65% less than a year earlier”, said Ionescu.

“There is no recovery in sight for first half next year; we are still facing a marked decline in exports. If Europe recovers, exports will probably pick up in second half 2010 in Romania”, he continued.

The general secretary of National Association of Exporters and Importers (ANEIR) stressed that around 7,000 export companies were closed down in the first part of the year, of 21,800 due to the economic crisis.

He added there “is a major concern on VAT refund in December and January”, since the financial crisis and budget problems “are far from being over in Romania”.

“There are already hardships in meeting the existent debt for public works carried out in 2008. We were promised to receive the money for the debt in first half, but we didn’t yet. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Finance has become the main client of market reserves due to the postponement of the disbursement of the third tranche from IMF, and the risk of a new freeze in lending remains”, Ionescu added.