Bulgaria reports 0.5% economic growth in Q1 2023

Bulgaria’s economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to preliminary data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on June 8. The figure exceeded NSI’s earlier flash estimate of 0.4 per cent growth.

Compared to the same period of 2022, Bulgaria’s economy grew by 2.3 per cent in the first quarter, higher the two per cent figure in last month’s flash estimate.

In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in January-March was 39.97 billion leva, or 20.44 billion euro, NSI said.

NSI’s seasonally-adjusted preliminary data showed domestic consumption declined by 0.8 per cent during the first quarter, but was 2.1 per cent higher on an annual basis. Gross fixed capital formation grew by 0.3 per cent in January-March, and it was 1.8 per cent up compared to the first quarter of 2022.

Exports in the first quarter were 1.4 per cent lower, while imports declined by 2.4 per cent, with the trade balance showing a surplus of 1.05 billion leva, or 2.6 per cent of GDP. Compared to the first quarter of last year, exports were up 2.3 per cent and imports were 2.3 per cent lower.

NSI’s statistics releases do not, as a rule, include analysis of trends and its first-quarter GDP announcement made no mention of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic or the Russian invasion of Ukraine have had on Bulgaria’s economy.

Bulgaria does not have an updated growth target for this year, given that the short-lived 48th National Assembly did not pass a Budget before it was dissolved and the country continues to operate under the 2022 Budget Act.

In its draft Budget package tabled in April, the now-departed caretaker government set a GDP growth target of 1.8 per cent for 2023, but Parliament has signalled its intent to disregard the bill and wait for the Nikolai Denkov Cabinet, which took office earlier this week, to table a new one, which may have a different target.

Last month, the European Commission’s spring forecast raised Bulgaria’s economic growth estimate for 2023 to 1.5 per cent, up from 1.4 per cent in the winter forecast.

(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)

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