Over 275 delegates gathered in Bucharest, Romania on 4 June for The Euromoney Regional Finance and Investment Conference for South-East Europe to discuss the macroeconomic outlook and the development of capital markets for the SEE economies. The Romanian Prime Minister, Mr Victor Ponta, opened the event by setting his priorities for the country: achieving sustainable growth, reforming the education system, and further developing the infrastructure programme. These key objectives were shared by most participants, representing eight SEE countries. Among the key challenges, the development of capital markets to fuel an overdue infrastructure programme was named as a priority for a sound economic development. Most speakers, including Prime Minister Ponta, mentioned the instability in Greece as a major headwind for the region, however most believed in a likely political solution of the Greek crisis. The Governor of the National Bank of Romania Mr Mugur Constantin Isarescu added Ukraine, Turkey and the geographical proximity to the turbulence of the Middle East as main risk factors. In addition, the Governor shared the lessons he had learnt from the 2008 financial crisis, when Romania had a wide fiscal gap, double digit current account deficit and high inflation. Today the country shows a very different picture and Governor Isarescu explained that there is no substitute for consistent economic policy. A variety of topics were covered throughout the panel discussions, sponsored workshops, and roundtable sessions. Analysed by central bankers from the SEE region, supranational representatives, and the CEO’s of the sponsoring banks, these included the changing banking system, the long term investment in infrastructure, the development of the capital markets, and the fast growth of the pension funds business in demographically appealing areas. The conversation continued at a cocktail reception kindly hosted by the National Bank of Romania at their elegant premises.
We would like thank the conference sponsors without whom none of this would have been possible.