Bulgaria's foreign trade deficit expanded 20.3% y/y to BGN4.9bn (€2.5bn) in the first 11 months of the year, preliminary statistics office data showed. The trade gap equalled 6% of the 2014 GDP forecast, up from 5% a year earlier.
Exports (FOB) fell 1.6% y/y to BGN40bn in January-November. Sales to non-EU countries (third countries) shrank 7.1% y/y to BGN15bn, while exports to the EU rose 2.1% y/y to BGN25bn.
The annual decline in exports can be largely attributed to the lower sales of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials to third countries, which dropped 13% y/y to BGN4.1bn. In addition, sales of crude materials, fuels excluded, to third countries, plunged 28.7% y/y to BGN1.1bn and those of food and live animals fell 10.7% y/y to BGN1.4bn.
Turkey remained Bulgaria's main exports market outside the EU, buying 24.8% of the goods sold to third countries. Singapore ranked second with 7%, and Russia was third with 6.5%.
Bulgaria imported (FOB) BGN45bn worth of goods in the first 11 months of the year, up 0.4% y/y. Imports from the EU rose 3.3% y/y to BGN27.4bn, while imports from third countries fell 3.9% y/y to BGN17.2bn. Russia was the main source of Bulgaria's non-EU imports with a 40% share, trailed by Turkey with 14.5% and China with 8.6%.
The European Commission has predicted that exports will resume growing at a moderate pace in the next couple of years and the contribution of net trade to overall economic growth will turn positive in 2015.
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