Bulgaria’s economy posted 0.5 per cent growth in the third quarter of the year, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in a flash estimate on November 14. In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in Bulgaria in July-September was 29 billion leva, or 14.83 billion euro.
If confirmed by the preliminary data, which NSI is due to announce on December 7, this would be the slowest growth rate since the third quarter of 2014, when the country’s economy grew by 0.5 per cent as well. Since then, quarterly growth never fell below 0.7 per cent.
In annual terms, economic growth was three per cent, which would make it, if confirmed by the preliminary data, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2014, when the annual figure was 2.6 per cent.
The flash estimate data showed an increase of 1.4 per cent in domestic consumption during the third quarter, a slowdown from 1.8 per cent recorded in the first two quarters of 2018, along with a 2.3 per cent decrease in gross fixed capital formation.
Exports were 2.2 per cent higher compared to the previous quarter (after three straight quarters of decline) and imports increased by 0.3 per cent, resulting in a trade surplus of 2.95 billion leva or 10.2 per cent of GDP.
In annual terms, domestic consumption was up 6.9 per cent, while gross capital formation rose by 6.2 per cent. Compared to Q3 2017, exports were 3.2 per cent lower and imports increased by 5.1 per cent.
Bulgaria was one of 17 EU countries to record economic growth during the third quarter, with the EU economy as a whole up 0.3 per cent and the euro zone expanding by 0.2 per cent, according to a flash estimate by EU’s statistics body Eurostat. In the previous quarter, the EU28 economy grew by 0.5 per cent and the euro zone’s economy expanded by 0.4 per cent, Eurostat said.
Among the EU member states to report GDP figures, Bulgaria ranked middle of the pack (in tenth), while the Romania had the strongest growth at 1.9 per cent, followed by Latvia (1.8 per cent) and Poland (1.7 per cent).
Eurostat figures showed Germany’s economy shrinking by 0.2 per cent, its first quarterly decline since 2015, with Lithuania’s economy also down 0.4 per cent, while Italy’s economy showed zero growth in the third quarter. Eight countries were yet to report third-quarter data – Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Sweden.
In annual terms, the EU economy grew by 1.9 per cent compared to Q3 2017, down from 2.1 per cent recorded in the previous quarter, and the euro zone economy grew by 1.7 per cent in annual terms, down from 2.2 per cent recorded in the previous quarter.
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