Bulgaria GDP Q1 2019


Bulgaria: Economy gathers momentum at the start of 2019

June 6, 2019

According to comprehensive data released by the Bulgarian Statistical Institute on 6 June, the economy grew 3.5% in annual and seasonally-adjusted terms in the first quarter of the year, a notch above the preliminary estimate and picking up from the previous quarter’s upturn (Q4 2018: +3.2% year-on-year, seasonally-adjusted). Moreover, on a quarter-on-quarter basis, growth in seasonally-adjusted terms accelerated to 1.2% from 0.8% in Q4 2018.

Domestic demand lost stride in Q1. Total consumption cooled again (Q1: +4.5% yoy s.a.; Q4 2018: +5.0% yoy s.a.), mainly due to household spending losing pace amid higher unemployment and consumers turning more pessimistic. Similarly, fixed investment decelerated markedly, rising 2.5% year-on-year (Q4 2018: +6.6% yoy s.a.).

External sector metrics improved, however, and fueled the overall expansion. Exports of goods and services rose a strong 5.1% year-on-year despite a more challenging global trading environment (Q4 2018: +1.4% yoy s.a.). Likewise, import growth accelerated to 3.9% in Q1 (Q4 2018: +1.6% yoy s.a.).

Looking ahead, growth is expected to remain solid this year, primarily buttressed by domestic demand. A tight job market and higher wages are seen supporting private consumption, while the continued absorption of EU structural funds and cheap borrowing costs should prop up investment activity.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect growth of 3.3% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. For 2020, panelists see growth at 2.9%.

Author:, Economist

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Bulgaria GDP Chart

Bulgaria GDP Q1  2019 7

Note: Year-on-year changes of seasonally-adjusted GDP in %
Source: National Statistical Institute (NSI) and FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast

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