Annual Survey of the Bulgarian Economy in 2018
In 2018 a relatively high gross domestic product (GDP) growth was registered in the country for a fourth consecutive year. The domestic demand rose at an accelerated rate. Compared to 2017, a higher growth was registered both for private and public consumption and for investment. GDP rose by 3.1% in real terms compared to the 3.8% in 2017. The lower growth was due to the drop in exports.
Following the sustainable increase in exports in the 2010-2017 period, 2018 saw a real drop as a result of the lower trade in goods. The dynamics was conditioned by a slow-down in external demand and by several temporary negative effects. Despite the drop in exports, there is no deterioration as regards the competitiveness indicators. The positive current account balance and the considerable improvement in the indebtedness indicators reflected the maintenance of the country’s sustainable external stance.
The unemployment rate reached its historically lowest level of 5.2%. Consumer trust, in particular consumer expectations for employment, rose up to levels exceeding the pre-crisis ones. The favourable household expectations together with the increase in disposable income and consumer credits and mortgage loans had a positive influence on the penchant for consumption.
A more considerable increase in the number of low- and medium-qualified people employed was observed in the past year, which has a limitation effect on the average income, other things being equal.
In 2018 the inflation sped up to an annual average of 2.6% in response to the higher international commodity prices and the higher demand in the economy. Several shocks in the supply caused a rise in the overall price level and in the baseline inflation.
In 2018 the consolidated fiscal programme balance was at a surplus of 0.1% of GDP. The budget outcome on accrual basis was 2%. The favourable development of the government balance was due to a growth of budget proceeds linked to the positive macroeconomic development together with the improved collection. The public sector also contributed positively to the economic growth both as regards the greater government staff costs and as regards the higher investment.
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