Bulgaria: GDP growth accelerates in Q1 2019
May 15, 2019
A preliminary release by the Statistical Institute showed that the economy grew a seasonally-adjusted 3.4% on an annual basis in the first quarter of the year, accelerating slightly from the fourth quarter’s 3.2% upturn. More upbeat external demand drove the overall expansion in the first quarter.
A rudimentary breakdown showed that total consumption growth moderated to 3.5% in Q1 (Q4: +5.0% year-on-year), likely weighed on by higher unemployment and inflation, on average, throughout the quarter. Fixed investment also lost steam in Q1, growing 2.6% in annual terms, which was the slowest pace in a year and a half (Q4: +6.6% yoy). That said, external sector metrics improved notably in the quarter: Exports of goods and services picked up despite mediocre economic activity in the EU (Q1: +5.0% yoy; Q4: +1.4% yoy), while growth in imports held largely steady compared to the previous quarter (Q1: +1.7% yoy; Q4: +1.6% yoy).
On a quarter-on-quarter, seasonally-adjusted basis, growth also accelerated to a strong 1.1% in Q1, from 0.8% in Q4.
More comprehensive data will be released on 6 June.
Author: Javier Colato, Economist