Bulgaria's current account turns to EUR 1.4bn surplus in Jan-Sep 2013

By bne IntelliNews November 15, 2013

Bulgaria's current account swung to a surplus of EUR 1.38bn in Jan-Sep 2013 from a deficit of EUR 27.8mn in the same period of last year on shrinking merchandise trade gap, preliminary central bank data showed. The deficit of the goods balance narrowed 38.4% y/y to EUR 1.6bn since the beginning of 2013 due to a well-performing export sector, offsetting a marginal rise in the value of imports. The increase in Bulgaria's exports was mainly linked to the rise in demand from other EU member countries.

The surplus on the balance of services fell 7.6% y/y to EUR 1.94bn in Jan-Sep. Tourism revenue rose 2.4% y/y to EUR 2.6bn for the period, whereas spending on tourist services abroad increased 11.6% y/y to EUR 884mn. As a result, net tourism revenue dropped 1.8% y/y to EUR 1.72bn.

The income balance gap narrowed 16.6% y/y to EUR 909.4mn on the back of higher income Bulgarians earned from portfolio investments abroad. Also in the reported period, foreigners earned smaller income from capital invested in the country due to the smaller value of foreign direct investments in Bulgaria and the general reduction of profit margins in the economy amid the current recessionary environment.

On the other hand, the surplus on net current transfers grew 24.3% y/y to EUR 1.96bn in Jan-Sep, thanks to better absorption of EU funds this year as compared to the previous. Remittances from Bulgarians living abroad inched up 0.8% y/y to EUR 622mn.

The surplus on the capital account rose 4.3% y/y to EUR 229mn in Jan-Sep. The financial account, on the other hand, registered a deficit of EUR 1.79bn, following a surplus of EUR 1.96bn a year ago. The significant deterioration of the financial account is linked to the repayment of government debt and contracting investment flows to the country. Net FDI shrank 48.5% y/y to EUR 785.5mn and net portfolio investments posted a deficit of EUR 929mn versus EUR 308.6mn surplus a year earlier.

As a result, Bulgaria's balance of payments posted a gap of EUR 248.7mn in Jan-Sep 2013 versus a EUR 1.94bn surplus in the same period of 2012.

Bulgaria, BoP, EUR mn Jan-Sep'12 Jan-Sep'13 Change y/y
Current Account -27.8 1,385.9 /
Goods balance -2,623.3 -1,615.8 -38.4%
Services balance 2,105.8 1,946.0 -7.6%
Income balance -1,090.6 -909.4 -16.6%
Net current transfers 1,580.4 1,965.1 24.3%
Capital Account 219.7 229.1 4.3%
Financial Account 1,966.7 -1,795.8 /
Net FDI 1,524.3 785.5 -48.5%
Net errors and omissions -212.3 -67.9 -68.0%
OVERALL BALANCE 1,946.4 -248.7 /
Source: BNB      

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