Bulgaria’s economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the last three months of 2013, according to preliminary data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on June 4. The figure shows an increase compared to last month’s flash estimate, which put quarterly economic growth at 0.2 per cent.
Compared to the first quarter of 2013, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was 1.2 per cent higher. In real terms, GDP in the first three months of 2014 was 16.1 billion leva, or 8.2 billion euro.
NSI’s preliminary data showed domestic consumption rise by 1.9 per cent in the first quarter (and three per cent compared to the first quarter of 2013), while gross fixed capital formation increased by 0.9 per cent (and was 3.4 per cent higher on an annual basis).
Exports in the first quarter shrank by 2.1 per cent, while imports rose by 3.8 per cent, resulting in a trade deficit of 1.34 billion leva.
Bulgaria’s government targeted 1.8 per cent economic growth for 2014, set in the Budget Act macro-economic framework. In April, Finance Minister Petar Chobanov raised the government’s forecast to 2.1 per cent.
The European Commission is less optimistic, re-iterating its 1.7 per cent growth estimate in its spring forecast last month, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in April that it saw Bulgaria’s economy growing by 1.6 per cent this year.
Also on June 4, the European Union statistics office Eurostat announced the GDP figures that showed a fifth straight quarter of economic growth both in the 18-country euro zone (expanded after Latvia joined the common currency area in January 2014) and the bloc as a whole.
GDP rose by 0.2 per cent in the euro zone and 0.3 in the EU28 in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted data, with five countries still to report quarterly figures), according to Eurostat’s second estimate for the first quarter.
In annual terms, the euro zone posted 0.9 per cent growth and the EU28 was up 1.4 per cent in the first quarter.
(Photo: Bart Zwan/sxc.hu)