ECONOMY

Romania eases access to leu-denominated debt

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s Parliament last week approved a bill allowing foreigners access to leu-denominated state securities this year. The Black Sea state, which hopes to join the European Union in 2007, plans to fully liberalize the capital account, allowing non-residents access to short-term money market instruments, before September. Last November, the centrist government approved draft legislation to allow foreigners to buy domestic bonds from January 1, but consequently scheduled this year’s first auction with foreign access for March 13. «The lower chamber of deputies approved legislation to allow foreigners access to state securities,» Mihai Tanasescu, the head of the lower chamber’s economic commission told Reuters. Under the bill, foreign investors will be able to buy and deal in government securities on the Romanian market without needing the approval of the Finance Ministry. The Finance Ministry will offer to sell 50 million lei ($17 million) of domestic one-year T-bills in the first quarter this year. It had said the bills will be auctioned off on March 13.