Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Romania amounted to €5.06bn ($5.48bn) between January and September 2023, 42% lower than the €8.67bn recorded in the same period last year.
According to the National Bank of Romania, equity holdings amounted to around €5.83bn, while intra-group loans reached €776m.
The announcement comes as the country struggles to pull in investors from abroad. For the first seven months of 2023, the bank had already reported a 29% slump in FDI levels compared to the same period in 2022.
In 2021, Bucharest recorded 215 inward FDI projects – the third-highest number among all Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries behind Poland (424) and Turkey (269).
However, when looking at FDI projects per million people, Romania continued to lag behind many other countries in the region. In 2021, it ranked ninth in the CEE region, with only 11.2 projects per million people. That was far below Estonia, which was the leading FDI destination per capita in CEE in 2021 with 27.1 projects per million people, according to GlobalData’s FDI Projects Database.
The Projects Database shows a similar decrease in the number of FDI projects. According to the database, Romania recorded 55 new FDI projects during Q1 2023 and 73 during Q2 2023 before taking a hit and going down to 28 in the third quarter.
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Overall, the country recorded a balance of payments deficit of €16.05bn in the first nine months of 2023 compared to €21.14bn a year earlier.
Romania experienced a surge in economic growth in the pre-Covid years, with its economy growing year on year between 2016 and 2019 before taking a hit and contracting by 3.7% in 2020 due to the pandemic.