Bulgaria’s economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the third quarter of the year, according to preliminary data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on December 7, exceeding the flash estimate released by the statistics body last month. That estimate put quarterly growth at 0.5 per cent, which would have been the lowest in four years.
Compared to the same period of 2017, economic growth in the third quarter was 3.1 per cent. In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in Bulgaria in July-September was 29.82 billion leva, or 15.25 billion euro.
NSI’s preliminary data showed domestic consumption grow by 1.4 per cent compared to April-June, slowing down from the 1.8 per cent growth rate recorded in the previous quarter. Year-on-year, domestic consumption was 6.9 per cent higher in July-September, unchanged from the second quarter.
Gross fixed capital formation fell by 1.5 per cent in the third quarter, compared to 1.1 per cent growth registered in the second quarter. In annual terms, gross capital formation in July-September rose by seven per cent compared to the same period of 2017 (up from 6.6 per cent annual growth rate registered in the previous quarter).
Exports in the third quarter expanded by 1.7 per cent (the first increase after three straight quarters of decline), while imports were down by 0.8 per cent, resulting in a trade surplus of 3.15 billion leva. Compared to the third quarter of last year, exports were 3.6 per cent lower and imports were four per cent higher.
The latest projections by Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry, in the three-year macroeconomic framework that accompanied the 2019 Budget Act, envision economic growth reaching 3.6 per cent this year, down from the 3.9 per cent target set in last year’s budget.
Last month, the European Commission said in its autumn forecast that it was lowering Bulgaria’s growth estimate for this year to 3.5 per cent, from 3.8 per cent in its summer economic growth report.