Bulgaria records 4.2% economic growth in 2021

Bulgaria’s economy grew by 4.2 per cent last year, based on preliminary data, the country’s National Statistics Institute (NSI) said on March 8. In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 was 132.7 billion leva in current prices, or 67.9 billion euro.

In the fourth quarter, Bulgaria’s economy grew by one per cent compared to the previous quarter and was 4.7 per cent higher year-on-year. In real terms, GDP in the last three months of 2021 was 38.4 billion leva or 19.6 billion euro.

The full-year economic growth figure exceeded both the Cabinet’s 3.7 per cent target and the European Commission’s four per cent estimate, which it made in its winter economic forecast last month.

The economic growth in 2021 follows a 4.2 per cent drop in 2020 caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw Bulgaria introduce a State of Emergency on March 13-May 13 2020, shutting down parts of its economy as it implemented social distancing and other anti-epidemic measures.

This was followed by the declaration of an epidemic, which remains in effect, with authorities periodically ramping up restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021 to stem rising waves of infection, followed by the easing of measures as the number of active cases declined.

NSI’s preliminary data gave a breakdown by key growth components only for the last quarter of 2021, not the full year.

The data showed domestic consumption rose by one per cent in the fourth quarter compared to Q3 and 7.4 per cent on an annual basis. Gross fixed capital formation was up 0.1 per cent on a quarterly basis and 4.6 per cent year-on-year.

Exports in the fourth quarter rose by 7.4 per cent, while imports were 4.8 per cent higher. Year-on-year, exports were 13.4 per cent up, while imports were 12.1 per cent higher.

In real terms, the fourth-quarter trade deficit was 941.7 million leva, or 2.4 per cent of GDP, while the full-year trade balance showed a surplus of 1.43 billion leva, the equivalent of 1.1 per cent of GDP.

(Illustration: svilen001/sxc.hu)

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