Bulgaria reports 4.3% economic growth in Q3 2020

Bulgaria’s economy grew by 4.3 per cent in the third quarter of the year, according to preliminary data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on December 4, which matched the flash estimate released by the statistics body last month.

Compared to the same period of 2019, the economy shrank in the third quarter by 5.2 per cent. In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in Bulgaria in July-September was 31.68 billion leva, or 16.2 billion euro.

NSI made no reference to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted Bulgaria to declare a State of Emergency on March 13, shutting down parts of its economy as it introduced social distancing and anti-epidemic measures. The State of Emergency remained in force until May 13 and resulted in a sharp drop in economic activity.

It was followed by the declaration of an epidemic emergency, which is still in effect, but with few restrictions during the summer months, allowing the economy to bounce back somewhat in the third quarter.

NSI’s preliminary data showed domestic consumption grow by 3.2 per cent compared to April-June, jumping up from the one per cent decline recorded in the previous quarter. Year-on-year, domestic consumption was 2.7 per cent higher (compared to being 0.3 per cent down year-on-year in the second quarter).

Gross fixed capital formation rose by 12.9 per cent in July-September, compared to the 8.6 per cent drop registered in the second quarter. In annual terms, gross capital formation fell by 9.6 per cent compared to the same period of 2019 (but an improvement on the 26.5 per cent annual decline rate registered in the second quarter).

Exports in the third quarter rose by two per cent, while imports were 20.8 per cent higher, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.14 billion leva, or 3.6 per cent of GDP. Compared to the third quarter of last year, exports were down 20.8 per cent and imports fell by 4.3 per cent.

Bulgaria’s Cabinet is targeting to limit the economic decline this year to three per cent, after recording 3.4 per cent growth in 2019. The European Commission’s latest estimate, in the autumn forecast, was for a drop of 5.1 per cent in 2020.

(Illustration: svilen001/sxc.hu)

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