Bulgaria: Growth moderates but remains resilient in Q3
November 14, 2019
The economy grew 3.7% year-on-year (yoy) in the third quarter, marginally down from the second quarter’s 3.8% outturn, according to a preliminary release by the Statistical Institute on 14 November.
A rudimentary breakdown showed that total consumption eased somewhat but remained robust nonetheless (Q3: +4.9% yoy; Q2: +5.5% yoy) amid a record-low unemployment rate, strong wage growth and robust retail sales. In contrast, fixed investment gained some steam in Q3 but remained sluggish (Q3: +2.2% yoy; Q2: +1.5% yoy), restrained by downbeat business confidence. Meanwhile, the external sector improved: Exports swung from a marked contraction to a timid expansion in Q3, as wider European weakness limited the scope of the rebound (Q3: +0.4% yoy; Q2: -2.5% yoy), while imports contracted for the second consecutive quarter (Q3: -1.7% yoy; Q2: -3.9% yoy).
On a quarter-on-quarter, seasonally-adjusted basis, growth slowed to an almost two-year low of 0.7%, down from 0.9% in Q2.
More comprehensive data will be released on 5 December.
Growth is projected to moderate in 2020, as softer labor market dynamics will limit the scope of consumer spending growth, while external sector metrics deteriorate somewhat. Nevertheless, the economy is seen expanding at a healthy pace, supported by solid investment activity.