Bulgaria: Economy decelerates slightly in Q1
May 13, 2016
In the first quarter, the economy expanded 2.9% over the same period last year, according to preliminary data released on 13 May. The print came in slightly below the 3.0% expansion tallied in the previous quarter and marked the weakest reading in three quarters. Q1’s result mainly came on the back of a contraction in fixed investment which partly offset an acceleration in total consumption and a solid contribution from the external sector.
Total consumption recorded a 2.4% expansion in Q1 (Q4: +1.9% year-on-year), which market the best result since Q2 2014. Conversely, fixed investment dropped from a 0.9% contraction in Q4 to a 3.9% decrease in Q1, thus marking the steepest fall since Q1 2002.
On the external side of the economy, exports deteriorated from a 6.0% expansion in Q4 to a 0.3% contraction in Q1. Imports swung from a 4.0% increase in Q4 to a 2.8% fall in Q1, the lowest reading in 14 years. As a result, the external sector’s net contribution to the economy rose from 1.3 percentage points in Q4 to 1.8 percentage points in Q1, which marked the best result in a year.