Bulgaria’s Q3 GDP growth speeds to 2.9% y/y, Q1 and Q2 data revised up substantially

By bne IntelliNews November 13, 2015

Bulgaria’s real GDP growth quickened to 2.9% y/y in the third quarter from an upwardly revised 2.6% y/y in the previous three months, a seasonally-adjusted flash estimate from the National Statistics Institute (NSI) showed on November 13. Compared to the previous quarter, the economy expanded by 0.7% in Q3, building on a 0.6% growth in Q2 and 0.9% in Q1.

Notably, the NSI has revised up substantially its seasonally-adjusted GDP growth estimates for the first and second quarter of this year - from 2.0% to 2.6% and from 2.2% to 2.6%, respectively. The data suggests that the country's full-year economic growth may exceed even the most optimistic forecasts, unless a deep contraction or another significant data revision comes up.

Last week, the European Commission (EC) improved its outlook for Bulgaria’s 2015 GDP growth to 1.7% from 1.0% expected in May, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) raised its forecast to 1.8% from 1.0%. A month earlier, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it saw the country's economy expanding by 1.7% this year. The government's official forecast points to a 2.0% growth rate in 2015.

The latest NSI data shows that final consumption increased 1.1% y/y in Q3, reversing a 1.3% y/y decline in the previous quarter. The y/y contraction in gross fixed capital formation narrowed to 0.9%, from 1.2%. Annual growth of both exports and imports decelerated, to 2.6% from 5.2% and to 1.2% from 4.7%, respectively.

Nominal GDP amounted to BGN23.61bn (€12.07bn) in Q3. Final consumption, gross capital formation, and net exports accounted for 68.7%, 22.8% and 8.5% of the total. Exports and imports were equal to 67.4% and 58.9% of nominal GDP, respectively.

The statistics office will publish more detailed preliminary estimates of Q3 GDP on December 4.

GDP, % y/y real, seasonally-adjusted        
  Q4'14 Q1'15 Q2'15 Q3'15
Final consumption 1.1 -3.6 -1.3 1.1
Gross fixed capital formation -0.1 -1.9 -1.2 -0.9
Exports of goods and services 3.9 13.6 5.2 2.6
Imports of goods and services 5.5 6.6 4.7 1.2
Source: NSI flash estimate        

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