Bulgaria Country Report - March, 2016

April 17, 2016

This report covers the key macroeconomic, financial and political releases for Bulgaria for the period since March 15, 2016.

In its April World Economic Outlook (WEO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its forecast for Bulgaria’s 2016 real GDP growth to 2.3% from 1.9% projected in October. According to the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia economic update, the country’s GDP growth is expected to slow down to 2.2% in 2016 from 3.0% last year.

Bulgaria's finance ministry has projected that economic growth will slow down to 2.1% in 2016 from 3.0% last year, but expects it to accelerate to 2.5% in 2017.

Bulgaria's business confidence strengthened m/m for a third consecutive month in March. The industrial production growth decelerated to 2.1% y/y in February from 2.2% y/y in January. The construction output went down 1.9% y/y in February, cooling from a revised 10.4% annual decline the previous month. Retail sales (at constant prices) increased by 3.1% y/y in February, speeding up from a 1.3% y/y rise in January.

Key points:
• The CPI decreased by 1.5% y/y in March after dropping by 0.5% y/y in February
• Bulgaria reported a consolidated budget surplus of BGN1.86bn (€949mn) in Q1, equal to some 2.1% of projected GDP, preliminary data from the finance ministry showed
• The country reported a current account surplus of €165.5mn in January, reversing a deficit of €108.4mn in January 2015

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