Romania: Leu slides to all-time low in March on coronavirus fears
April 6, 2020
The Romanian leu (RON) lost ground against the euro over the past month and hit an all-time low of 4.86 per EUR on 18 March amid market fears over the fast-spreading coronavirus globally and its impact on economic activity. The leu recovered somewhat thereafter as the Central Bank intervened in the FX market to halt its fall. On 3 April, the leu ended the day at RON 4.83 per EUR, marking a 0.4% depreciation from the same day in March. Moreover, the currency was down 1.6% year-on-year and 0.9% year-to-date.
The leu has been weakening since the start of February when Parliament ousted Prime Minister Ludovic Orban’s three-month old minority government in a no-confidence vote. Since then, it acted as caretaker government until 14 March, when he was reinstated as head of government to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The currency was further pummeled by the sharp sell-off in risky assets due to coronavirus-induced panic and growing fears over the pandemic’s impact on the real economy and financial system.
As things currently stand, the leu is seen weakening further ahead, with the country’s swelling fiscal and current account deficits continuing to exert downward pressure.
Author: Javier Colato, Economist