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Economy of Bulgaria

Economy of Bulgaria
Currency 1 lev (BGN) = 100 stotinki
Fiscal year Calendar year
Statistics
GDP ranking
GDP (PPP) $92.894 billion(April 2008 est.)
GDP growth 5.9% (2008 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP) $12,252 (April 2008 est.)
GDP by sector agriculture (6.2%), industry (32.3%), services (61.5%) (2007 est.)
Inflation 12.5% (2007)
Pop below poverty line 13.1% (2007)
Labour force 3.465 million (March 2008)
Labour force by occupation agriculture 7%, industry 36.3%, services 56.6% (Q1 2008)
Unemployment 6.51% (March 2008)
Main industries electricity, gas and water; food, beverages and tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
Trading Partners
Exports $14.6 billion (2006)
Main Partners Italy 13%, Germany 11%, Turkey 10.1%, Greece 6.1%, Belgium 5.6%, France 4.2%, US 4.1% (2005)
Imports $20.69 billion (2006)
Main Partners Germany 14.7%, Russia 9.9%, Italy 9.9%, Turkey 6.8%, Greece 6.4%, Romania 4.2% (2005)
Public finances
Public debt 15.0% of GDP(€4.7375 billion) euro of which 10.1% external and 4.9% domestic(March 2008)
Revenues $13.28 billion (2006 est.)
Expenses $12.16 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2006 est.)
Economic aid $475 million (2004-06)
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Bulgaria became a member state of the European union in 2007.It is classified as an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank. The economy of Bulgaria declined dramatically during the 1990s with the collapse of the COMECON system and the loss of the Soviet market, to which the Bulgarian economy had been closely tied. The standard of living fell by about 40%, and only regained pre-1989 levels by June 2004. In addition, UN sanctions against Serbia (1992-95) and Iraq took a heavy toll on the Bulgarian economy. The first signs of recovery emerged when GDP grew 1.4% in 1994 for the first time since 1988, and 2.5% in 1995. Inflation, which surged in 1994 to 122%, fell to 32.9% in 1995. During 1996, however, the economy collapsed due to the BSP's, slow and mismanaged economic reforms, its disastrous agricultural policy, and an unstable and decentralized banking system, which led to an inflation rate of 311% and the collapse of the lev. When pro-reform forces came into power in the spring 1997, an ambitious economic reform package, including introduction of a currency board regime, was agreed to with the IMF and the World Bank, and the economy began to stabilize. As of 2007 the economy is growing at a steady pace of about 6% a year with budget surpluses and shaky inflation. Future prospects are tied to the country's increasingly important integration with the European Union member states. The country is expected to join the Eurozone between 2010 and 2012.

External trade & Investment

Since 1990, the bulk of Bulgarian trade has shifted from former COMECON countries primarily to the European Union, although Russian petroleum exports to Bulgaria make it Bulgaria's single largest trading partner. In December 1996, Bulgaria joined the World Trade Organization. In the early 90's Bulgaria's slow pace of privatization, contradictory government tax and investment policies, and bureaucratic red tape kept foreign investment among the lowest in the region. Total direct foreign investment from 1991 through 1996 was $831 million. In the years since 1997, however, Bulgaria has begun to attract substantial foreign investment. In 2004 alone over 2.72 billion Euro (3.47 billion US dollars) were invested by foreign companies. In 2005 economists observed a slowdown to about 1.8 billion euros (2.3 billion US dollars) in FDI which is attributed mainly to the end of the privatization of the major state owned companies. After joining the EU in 2007 Bulgaria registered a peak in foreign investment of about 6 billion euros.

Economic History after the Fall of Socialism

Reforms of the 1990s and early 2000s

Members of the government promised to move forward on cash and mass privatization upon taking office in January 1995 but was slow to act. The first round of mass privatization finally began in January 1996, and auctions began toward the end of that year. The second and third rounds were conducted in Spring 1997 under a new government. In July 1998, the UDF-led government and the IMF reached agreement on a 3-year loan worth about $800 million, which replaced the 14-month stand-by agreement that expired in June 1998. The loan was used to develop financial markets, improve social safety net programs, strengthen the tax system, reform agricultural and energy sectors, and further liberalize trade. The European Commission, in its 2002 country report, recognized Bulgaria as a functioning market economy, acknowledging the progress made by Prime Minister Simeon-Saxenoburgotski's government toward market-oriented reforms.

Rebound from the February 1997 crisis

In April 1997, the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) government won pre-term parliamentary elections and introduced an IMF currency board system which succeeded in stabilizing the economy. The triple digit inflation of 1996 and 1997 has given way to an official economic growth, but forecasters are predicting accelerated growth over the next several years. The government's structural reform program includes: (a) privatization and, where appropriate, liquidation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs); (b) liberalization of agricultural policies, including creating conditions for the development of a land market; (c) reform of the country's social insurance programs; and (d) reforms to strengthen contract enforcement and fight crime and corruption.

In the European Union

On 1 January 2007 Bulgaria entered the European Union. This led to some immediate international trade liberalization, but there was no shock to the economy. The government is running annual surpluses of above 3%. This fact, together with annual GDP growth of above 5%, has brought the government indebtedness to 22.8% of GDP in 2006 from 67.3% five years earlier . This is to be contrasted with enormous current account deficits. Low interest rates guarantee availability of funds for investment and consumption. For example, a boom in the real estate market started around 2003 and has not subsided yet. At the same time annual inflation in the economy is variable and during the last five years (2003-2007) has seen a low of 2.3% and high of 7.3% . Most importantly, this poses a threat to the country's accession to the Eurozone. The Bulgarian government plans for the Euro to replace the Lev in 2010. However, experts predict that this might happen as late as in 2012 . From a political point of view, there is a trade-off between Bulgaria's economic growth and the stability required for early accession to the monetary union. Bulgaria's per-capita PPP GDP is still only about a third of the EU25 average , while the country's nominal GDP per capita is about 13% of the EU25 average.

As of January 1 2008 the income tax for all citizens is set to a flat rate of 10%. This flat tax is one of the lowest income rates in the world and the lowest income rate in the European Union The reform was done in hope for higher GDP growth and greater tax collection rates. Some called it a "revolution" in taxation, but the changes were met with mild discussions and some protests by affected working classes. The proposal was modified to allow for compensating the perceived losers from the changes in the tax formula. The corporate income tax is also 10% as of January 1, 2007 which is also among the lowest in Europe

Statistics

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

  • lowest 10%: 2.9%
  • highest 10%: 25.4% (25.4)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 31.6% (2005)

Industrial production growth rate: 11.3% (Third Quarter)

Electricity:

  • production: 45.7 TWh (2006)
  • consumption: 37.4 TWh (2006)
  • exports: 7.8 TWh (2006)
  • imports: 0 TWh (2006)

Electricity - production by source:

  • fossil fuel: 47.8%
  • hydro: 8.1%
  • nuclear: 44.1%
  • other: 0% (2001)

Oil:

  • production: 3,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
  • consumption: 131,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)
  • exports: 51,000 (2005 est.)
  • imports: 138,800 (2004 est.)
  • proved reserves: 15 million bbl (1 January 2006)

Natural gas:

  • production: 407,000 cu m (2005 est.)
  • consumption: 5.179 billion cu m (2005 est.)
  • exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
  • imports: 5.8 billion cu m (2005)
  • proved reserves: 5.703 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Agriculture - products: vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets

Current account balance: $ -5.01 billion (2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $11.78 billion (2006 est.)

Exchange rates:

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Rate 2.12 2.18 2.08 1.73 1.58 1.57 1.56 1.43
Source: Bulgarian National Bank. Levs per US dollar; On 5 July 1999 the lev was re-denominated; the post-5 July 1999 lev is equal to 1,000 of the pre-5 July 1999 levs.

Future Projections

All future projections are provided courtesy of the International Monetary Fund.

GDP trends:

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Annual percent change 6.3 6.1 5.5 4.8 5.3 5.9 6.1 6.5
GDP, current prices (billions $) 31.7 39.6 49.3 55.9 63.0 71.1 79.9 89.4
GDP per capita, current prices ($) 4,120 5,186 6,503 7,427 8,429 9,586 10,859 12,149
GDP PPP, current prices (billions $) 79.2 86.3 92.9 99.1 106.3 115.0 124.3 134.7
GDP PPP per capita, current prices ($) 10,294 11,302 12,252 13,168 14,227 15,506 16,901 18,318

Inflation trends:

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Annual percent change 6.1 11.6 7.2 5.0 4.4 4.3 4.1 3.6

Balance of Payment Trends:

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Current account balance (billions $) -4.9 -8.5 -10.8 -10.6 -9.8 -8.9 -7.5 -6.0
Current account balance (Percent of GDP) -15.6 -21.4 -21.9 -18.9 -15.5 -12.5 -9.3 -6.7

See also

Notes

External links

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