Bulgarian economy grew by 2.1% in Q4 2020 – flash estimate

Bulgaria’s economy grew by 2.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in a flash estimate on February 16. In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in Bulgaria in October-December was 32.08 billion leva, or 16.4 billion euro.

In annual terms, the economic drop in the fourth quarter was 3.8 per cent, compared to the same period of 2019. NSI is due to announce preliminary growth figures for the quarter on March 9.

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, when it was followed by the declaration of an epidemic. That declaration has been extended repeatedly and remains in effect, with restrictions re-introduced in November 2020 to stem the second wave of infections, which are now being gradually eased.

The flash estimate’s seasonally-adjusted data showed domestic consumption fall by 7.7 per cent during the fourth quarter, and it was 5.7 per cent lower on an annual basis. Gross fixed capital formation fell by 0.6 per cent in October-December, and was 7.9 per cent down compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

Exports were the main driver of economic growth, up 11.3 per cent compared to the third quarter (but were 11.2 per cent lower compared to the same period of 2019), while imports rose by 1.2 per cent (3.9 per cent down on an annual basis). The country recorded a trade surplus of 711.9 million leva in the quarter, the equivalent of 2.2 per cent of GDP, NSI said.

Bulgaria was one of 15 EU countries to record economic growth during the fourth quarter of the year, according to the bloc’s statistics body Eurostat, posting the second highest growth behind Romania.

The EU economy as a whole shrank by 0.4 per cent in Q4, while the euro zone economy was down 0.6 per cent. In annual terms, however, the EU economy declined by 4.8 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, while the euro zone economy was down by five per cent.

Five countries recorded negative economic growth in the quarter, according to Eurostat, while seven countries were yet to report fourth-quarter estimates – Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia.

(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)

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