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Bulgaria Country Report - March, 2015

  • April 2015
  • -
  • Emerging Markets Direct Media Holdings
  • -
  • 18 pages

This report covers the key macroeconomic and financial releases for Bulgaria for the period from March 7, 2015 to April 8, 2015.



The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for Bulgaria's GDP growth in 2015 to 1.25% from 2% projected in October.



The unemployment rate edged down to 11% in February from 11.1% the month before, the state labour agency said. Bulgaria's unemployment rate dropped to 11.4% in 2014 from 12.9% in 2013, data from the statistics office's labour force survey showed.



There were two important events concerning external government debt. Firstly, on March 19 Bulgaria raised EUR3.1bn through three euro-denominated Eurobond issues, its largest ever debt sale. Secondly, on March 27 the Balkan country repaid in full a EUR1.5bn bridge loan received from HSBC, Societe Generale, Citibank, and Unicredit Bulbank.



Key points:

oThe overall business climate indicator rose by 0.9 points m/m in March, improving for the third consecutive month, after rising by 3.8 points m/m in January and by 1.2 points m/m in February

oBulgaria's annual consumer price deflation softened to 0.5% in February from 1% the month before

oStrong growth in tax revenues helped Bulgaria post the smallest end-February budget deficit in the last five years

oBulgaria's current account deficit narrowed by 90% y/y to EUR43.8mn in January

Table Of Contents

Bulgaria Country Report - March, 2015
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY4

MACROECONOMIC OVERVIEW5

Bulgaria's long-term convergence interest rate drops to 2.49% in March5

REAL SECTOR5

1.GDP5

IMF cuts Bulgaria's 2015 GDP growth forecast to 1.25%, warns of increased risks to outlook5

2. Inflation6

Bulgaria's CPI deflation eases to 0.5% y/y in February6

Bulgaria's industrial PPI decline softens to 1.2% y/y in February7

3. Industry and Trade8

Bulgaria's business climate improves further in March8

Bulgaria's industrial output growth quickens to 2.3% y/y in February8

Bulgaria's construction output drops 1.8% y/y in February9

Bulgaria's retail sales growth slows to 4.2% y/y in February9

4. Labour Market10

Bulgaria's unemployment rate falls to 11% in February - labour agency10

Bulgaria's unemployment rate drops to 11.4% in 2014 - labour force survey10

Labour costs in Bulgaria up 3.1% y/y in Q411

5. Tourism11

Foreign tourist arrivals to Bulgaria up 2.9% y/y in February11

Bulgaria's revenue from foreign visitors' overnights rises 3.4% y/y in January11

FISCAL SECTOR12

Bulgaria's end-February budget deficit narrows sharply on strong tax revenues12

Bulgaria's fiscal reserve up 31% y/y at end-February12

Bulgaria raises EUR3.1bn through three Eurobond tranches13

Bulgaria's government debt rises 38.6% y/y to EUR10.65bn at end-February13

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIATION14

Bulgarian banking sector profit rises 31% in Jan-Feb14

Bulgaria's deposit interest rates fall in February, lending rates mixed14

Bulgaria's M3 up 2% y/y at end-February, domestic credit shrinks 7.7% y/y15

Bulgarian insurers' gross premiums rise 2.6% in 201415

EXTERNAL SECTOR16

Bulgaria's current account deficit narrows 90% y/y in January16

FDI in Bulgaria turn negative in January16

Bulgaria's January foreign trade gap narrows 66% y/y17

Bulgaria's gross external debt rises 5.3% y/y at end-January17

Bulgaria's FX reserves rise 10.4% m/m in March18

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