Bulgaria: Economy slows down in Q1
May 15, 2014
In the first quarter, the economy expanded 1.1% over the same period last year according to preliminary data released on 15 May. The figure was slightly down from the 1.2% expansion tallied in the previous quarter. Q1’s reading was driven by an improvement in domestic demand, while the external sector deteriorated compared to the previous quarter.
Total consumption growth rebounded from a 0.6% fall in Q4 to a 3.1% increase in Q1, which marked the fastest growth rate since Q2 2012. Private consumption rose 2.0% (Q4: -0.6% year-on-year), while government spending inched down from a 1.6% increase in Q4 to a 1.5% rise in Q1. In addition, fixed investment rose 3.2% (Q4. +3.0% yoy).
On the external side of the economy, exports deteriorated from a 9.2% increase in Q4 to a timid 0.7% rise in Q1, which was the slowest growth rate that has been recorded since Q4 2012. In addition, imports slowed from a 6.9% increase in Q4 to a 5.1% rise in Q1. As a result, the external sector’s net contribution to the economy fell from plus 1.1 percentage points in Q4 to minus 3.4 percentage points in Q1, the lowest level in seven quarters. More detailed data will be released on 4 June.
On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 0.2% in Q4, which was slightly down from the revised 0.3% rise recorded in the previous quarter (previously reported: +0.4% quarter-on-quarter).
Author: Dirina Mançellari, Senior Economist