Bulgaria recorded in August its first monthly foreign trade surplus in two years thanks to a substantial drop in imports, which probably reflected the sharp drop in oil prices during the month, statistics office data showed. The surplus (FOB/FOB) was BGN176.8mn (€90.4mn), following a deficit of BGN320.6mn in July. The previous monthly surplus was BGN210.9mn, recorded in August 2013, which reversed to a shortfall of BGN200.6mn in August 2014.
After rising 7.8% y/y in July, imports slid 10.4% y/y to BGN3.6bn in August, as imports from third countries plunged 21.4% y/y to BGN1.3bn and imports from the EU shrank 2.1% y/y to BGN2.2bn. Imports of mineral fuels and oils, which account for about a third of the total imports from third countrues, dropped 43% y/y to BGN492mn in August.
Bulgaria's exports edged down 1% y/y to BGN3.8bn in August, reversing a 2.1% y/y rise in July. Exports to the EU rose 6.7% y/y to BGN2.5bn, whereas exports to non-EU countries (third countries) dropped 12.8% y/y to BGN1.3bn.
Bulgaria's current account surplus expanded by 52% y/y to €675.6mn in January-July, mainly reflecting a 28% narrowing of the trade deficit to €1.14bn. A potential further tightening of the trade gap will thus help the country strengthen further its external positions at a time when its foreign debt has surged and global financial markets remain highly volatile.
For the first eight months of the year, the foreign trade shortfall was BGN1.5bn, down 46.3% y/y. The gap is equal to 1.8% of the projected 2015 GDP.
Exports increased 8% y/y to BGN30.3bn in January-August, whereas imports grew 3.2% y/y to BGN31.7bn. Sales to the EU rose 9.7% y/y to BGN19.2bn and exports to non-EU countries went up 5.3% y/y to BGN11bn.
Imports from the EU climbed 7% y/y to BGN20.1bn, whereas imports from third countries fell 2.8% y/y to BGN11.6bn, with imports of mineral fuels and oils down 17.1% y/y to BGN4.6bn.
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