Bulgaria's foreign trade deficit narrowed 39.3% y/y to BGN 3.5bn (EUR 1.8bn) in January-October as a robust exports growth largely surpassed a mild rise in imports, according to preliminary statistics office data. The Jan-Oct trade gap equalled to 4.4% of the projected nominal GDP for 2013.
The value of exports rose at an annual rate of 7.8% in the first ten months of the year totalling BGN 36.4bn in absolute terms. A substantial chunk of the increase in exports (73%) was due to a larger volume of sales of goods to the EU market.
Most of that represents equipment and machinery, likely sold to German industrial firms, judging by the country's buoyant industrial production and widening trade surplus. According to latest data on trade with other EU members, Bulgarian exports to the EU's largest economy surged 33.7% y/y in January-September.
On the other hand, Bulgaria's imports remained weak, inching up 0.9% to BGN 39.9bn in Jan-Oct, underlining the country's subdued domestic consumption and dependence on foreign demand to generate economic growth.
The trade deficit with EU members shrank 41% y/y to BGN 1.9bn in Jan-Oct and that with non-EU countries contracted by 37.4% y/y to BGN 1.62bn.
Bulgaria's government forecasts an exports-driven growth in 2013, projecting 0.6% economic expansion this year as sales abroad are expected to rise at an annual rate of 6.8%. The EC, on the other hand, sees Bulgaria's GDP growth at 0.5% and exports increasing by 4.9% y/y.
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