Bulgaria records 1.8% economic growth in 2023

Bulgaria’s economy grew by 1.8 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 2023 was 183.7 billion leva in current prices, or 94 billion euro.

In the fourth quarter, Bulgaria’s economy grew by 0.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter and was 1.6 per cent higher year-on-year. In real terms, GDP in the last three months of 2023 was 51.85 billion leva or 26.5 billion euro.

The full-year economic growth figure matched the Cabinet’s target set in the 2023 Budget Act, but fell short of the European Commission’s two per cent estimate, which the EC made in its winter economic forecast last month.

This was also below the 3.4 per cent economic growth recorded in 2022. NSI’s statistics releases do not, as a rule, include analysis of trends and the statistics body made no mention of the impact that Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine had on Bulgaria’s economy.

NSI’s preliminary data gave a breakdown by key growth components only for the last quarter of 2023, not the full year.

The data showed domestic consumption rose by 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to Q3 and was 2.6 per cent higher on an annual basis. Gross fixed capital formation was up 0.4 per cent on a quarterly basis and 3.7 per cent year-on-year.

Exports in the fourth quarter rose by 1.4 per cent, while imports were 4.1 per cent higher. Year-on-year, exports were 1.9 per cent lower in the fourth quarter, while imports were 4.4 per cent lower.

In real terms, the fourth-quarter trade deficit was 560.1 million leva, or 1.1 per cent of GDP, while the full-year trade balance showed a surplus of 5.82 billion leva, the equivalent of 3.2 per cent of GDP.

(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)

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