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Bulgaria Country Report - April, 2015

  • May 2015
  • -
  • Emerging Markets Direct Media Holdings
  • -
  • 19 pages

This report covers the key macroeconomic and financial releases for Bulgaria for the period from April 9, 2015 to May 8, 2015.



The European Commission revised up its projection for Bulgaria's GDP growth in both 2015 and 2016, but the outlook remains gloomy amid an expected slowdown in public investment and continued weak private investment. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on April 14 it has lowered its forecast for the country's 2015 GDP growth to 1.2% from 2% projected six months ago. The Bulgarian government has raised its 2015 economic growth projection to 1.4% from 0.8% expected previously.



Bulgaria's unemployment rate was 11% in March, unchanged from February, but 1.2pp lower in annual terms.



Bulgaria's overall business climate indicator rose by 2.5 points m/m in April, improving for the fourth consecutive month. Industrial production growth accelerated to 2.9% y/y in March from 2.5% y/y the month before. On the negative side, annual retail sales growth (at constant prices) decelerated to 0.8% in March from 4.2% in February.



Key points:

oBulgaria's consumer prices edged up 0.1% y/y in March, reversing a 0.5% y/y decline in February and posting their first annual growth in 20 months

oThe consolidated budget showed a surplus of BGN257.1mn (EUR131.4mn) in Q1, reversing a deficit of BGN874mn in Q1 2014

oThe current account deficit narrowed by 49.6% y/y to EUR239.7mn in January-February

Table Of Contents

Bulgaria Country Report - April, 2015
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY4

MACROECONOMIC OVERVIEW5

Bulgaria's long-term convergence interest rate drops to 2.36% in April5

Bulgarian firms see shadow economy as top business obstacle - EBRD survey5

REAL SECTOR6

1.GDP6

EU raises Bulgaria's growth forecast, but outlook remains bleak6

IMF slashes Bulgaria's 2015 GDP growth forecast to 1.2%7

Bulgaria lifts 2015 GDP growth forecast to 1.4%7

2. Inflation8

Bulgaria's consumer prices tick up 0.1% y/y in March after 19 months of deflation8

Bulgaria's annual PPI deflation softens to 0.4% in March9

3. Industry and Trade9

Bulgaria's business climate improves further in April9

Bulgaria's industrial output growth quickens to 2.9% y/y in March10

Bulgaria's industrial companies plan to cut investments by 30% in 201510

Bulgaria's construction output decline softens to 1.8% y/y in March10

Bulgaria's building permits number falls 6.9% y/y in Q111

Bulgaria's retail sales growth slows to 0.8% y/y in March11

4. Labour Market12

Bulgaria's unemployment rate stays at 11% in March - labour agency12

5. Tourism12

Foreign tourist arrivals to Bulgaria up 2.6% y/y in March12

Bulgaria's revenue from foreign visitors' overnights grows 5.3% y/y in January-February12

FISCAL SECTOR13

Bulgaria posts budget surplus of 0.3% of GDP in Q113

Bulgaria's 2014 budget deficit likely to turn higher than 2.8% of GDP after revision - Eurostat13

Bulgaria's end-March fiscal reserve widens 88% y/y14

Bulgaria sells EUR25.6mn in 10-year T-bonds, yield drops14

Bulgaria's government debt rises 59% y/y to EUR12.24bn at end-March14

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIATION15

Bulgaria's deposit interest rates decline in March, lending rates mostly drop15

Bulgaria's M3 up 1.9% y/y at end-March, domestic credit shrinks 11.9% y/y16

EXTERNAL SECTOR17

Bulgaria's current account deficit halves y/y in January-February17

FDI in Bulgaria drop 6.9% y/y in January-February17

Bulgaria's foreign trade gap shrinks 34% y/y in January-February18

Bulgaria's gross external debt climbs 4.5% y/y at end-February18

Bulgaria's FX reserves rise 2.7% m/m in April19

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