Bulgaria’s economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to preliminary data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on June 4. The figure was in line with NSI’s flash estimate released last month.
Compared to the same period of 2019, economic growth in the first quarter was 2.4 per cent. In real terms, gross domestic product (GDP) in Bulgaria in January-March was 25.58 billion leva, or 13.08 billion euro.
NSI’s preliminary data showed domestic consumption shrank by 0.1 per cent compared to the last quarter of 2019, but was 4.1 per cent higher year-on-year, while gross fixed capital formation was down by 1.5 per cent compared to Q4 2019 and 1.2 per cent higher on an annual basis.
Exports in the first quarter were 0.9 per cent up, while imports rose by 1.5 per cent, which resulted in a trade surplus of 372.3 million leva, or 1.5 per cent of GDP. Compared to the first quarter of last year, exports were up 1.9 per cent and imports were 1.2 per cent higher.
Bulgaria’s Cabinet has set a 3.3 per cent economic growth target this year in the Budget Act macro-economic framework, after recording 3.4 per cent growth in 2019. The Budget revision in April, made necessary by the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, did not amend the growth target, but the European Commission’s spring forecast projected that the Bulgarian economy would contract by more than seven per cent.
NSI made no reference to the pandemic or its impact on first-quarter growth. Bulgaria declared a State of Emergency on March 13, shutting down parts of its economy as it introduced social distancing and anti-epidemic measures, but lifted the State of Emergency on May 13.