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Country Report Bulgaria September 2017

Country Report Bulgaria September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2358830
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • After six months of renewed political turbulence, triggered by the previous government's resignation in November 2016, the formation of a new centre-right ruling coalition in May has ushered in a period of greater stability.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the government, led again by Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB), to focus on preparing for EU presidency, which Bulgaria will hold in the first half of 2018.
  • However, we forecast that after the end of Bulgaria's presidency, tensions between the CEDB and its nationalist coalition partners will come to the fore and the government will not serve out its full four-year term.
  • The EU will keep Bulgaria under close scrutiny, demanding the imple-mentation of judicial reforms and greater efforts to combat corruption.
  • We forecast that real GDP growth will pick up to 3.6% in 2017, from 3.4% in 2016. Growth will then slow to an annual average of 2.9% in 2018-21 as domestic demand growth moderates.
  • After a third consecutive year of deflation, at 0.8% in 2016, we forecast that inflation will return in 2017, at 1.9%, and will average 2.5% per year in 2018-21.
  • We forecast that the current-account surplus, which was equivalent to 4.2% of GDP in 2016, will decline in 2017-20, to an average of 1.7% per year as import demand picks up, before swinging back into a small deficit in 2021.


  • Following the signing of a friendship treaty with Macedonia on August 1st, Bulgarian officials said that the Bulgarian trade mission in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, which was closed at end-2015, would be reopened.
  • In mid-August the defence minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, said that 600 army personnel would be deployed at the border with Turkey to stem the flow of illegal border crossings.
  • In January-July the consolidated state budget posted a cash-flow surplus of Lv2bn (US$1.2bn), down from Lv3.3bn a year earlier.
  • In April June, according to flash estimates, real GDP growth (seasonally and working-day adjusted) accelerated to 3.6% year on year, from (an upwardly revised) 3.5% in January-March, driven by final consumption growth of 4.2%.
  • In January-June banking sector profits were 14.6% lower than a year earlier, when one-off factors had boosted revenue.
  • In January-June the foreign trade deficit widened to Lv1.9bn, from Lv1.1bn a year earlier, as import growth outperformed export growth owing to higher world oil prices.

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