The economies of the EBRD region are expected to contract on average by about 5 per cent in 2009 after growth of over 4 per cent in 2008 and almost 7 per cent in 2007, according to latest forecasts from the EBRD’s Office of the Chief Economist, a press release informs. The global economic crisis, which initially had an immediate impact on the financial sector, is now severely affecting the corporate sector, leading to large declines in output in late 2008 and in the first quarter of this year. It has also started to depress domestic consumption. The recession has also caught up with the economies of south-eastern Europe (SEE), many of which were still growing strongly the second half of last year. After a large output decline in the fourth quarter, the Romanian economy is expected to continue contracting over this year, with a total output decline of 4 per cent relative to 2008.