Key facts: Romania

by World Grain Staff
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Capital: Bucharest Population: 22.2 million (July 2008 est.)

Religions: Eastern Orthodox (including all subdenominations) 86.8%, Protestant (various denominations including Reformate and Pentecostal) 7.5%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, other (mostly Muslim) and unspecified 0.9%, none 0.1% (2002 census).

Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine.

Government: Republic; chief of state: President Traian Basescu (since Dec. 20, 2004); Head of government: Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu (since Dec. 29, 2004).

Economy: Romania, which joined the European Union on Jan. 1, 2007, began the transition from communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country’s needs. The country emerged in 2000 from a punishing three-year recession thanks to strong demand in E.U. export markets. Domestic consumption and investment have fueled strong GDP growth in recent years but have led to large current account imbalances. Romania’s macroeconomic gains have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and address Romania’s widespread poverty. Corruption and red tape continue to handicap its business environment. Inflation rose in 2007 for the first time in eight years, driven in part by the depreciation of the currency, rising energy costs, a nationwide drought affecting food prices, and a relaxation of fiscal discipline. Romania hopes to adopt the euro by 2014.

GDP per capita: $11,100 (2007 est.); inflation: 4.8% (2007 est.); unemployment 4.1% (2007 est.).

Currency: "New" leu (RON) was introduced in 2005; "old" leu (ROL) was phased out in 2006; 2.98 RON equals 1 U.S. dollar (Nov. 17, 2008).

Exports: $40.32 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): machinery and equipment, textiles and footwear, metals and metal products, machinery and equipment, minerals and fuels, chemicals, agricultural products.

Imports: $64.54 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): machinery and equipment, fuels and minerals, chemicals, textile and products, metals, agricultural products.

Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, maize, barley, sugar beets, sunflower seed, potatoes, grapes; eggs, sheep. Agriculture: 7.9% of GDP and 29.7% of the labor force.

Internet: Code .ro; 1.406 million (2007) hosts and 12 million (2007) users.

Source: CIA World Factbook