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Bulgaria records economic growth of 4.2% in 2021

Bulgaria’s economy grew by 4.2% last year, based on preliminary data, the country’s National Statistics Institute (INS) said on March 8. In real terms, the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 was 132.7 billion leva at current prices, or 67.9 billion euros.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulgarian economy grew by 1% compared to the previous quarter and by 4.7% year-on-year. In real terms, the GDP for the last three months of 2021 was 38.4 billion leva or 19.6 billion euros.

The economic growth figure for the full year exceeded both the Cabinet’s 3.7% target and the European Commission’s estimate of 4%, which it made in its winter economic forecast last month.

Economic growth in 2021 follows a 4.2% decline in 2020 caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw Bulgaria introduce a state of emergency from March 13 to May 13, 2020, shutting down parts of its economy as it implemented social distancing and other anti-epidemic measures.

This was followed by the declaration of an outbreak, which remains in effect, with authorities periodically tightening restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021 to stem rising waves of infection, followed by the easing of measures as the number of active cases was decreasing.

Preliminary data from NSI provided a breakdown by key components of growth only for the last quarter of 2021, not the full year.

The data showed that domestic consumption rose 1% in the fourth quarter from the third quarter and 7.4% on an annual basis. Gross fixed capital formation increased by 0.1% on a quarterly basis and by 4.6% year on year.

Exports in the fourth quarter increased by 7.4%, while imports increased by 4.8%. Year-on-year, exports increased by 13.4%, while imports increased by 12.1%.

In real terms, the trade deficit for the fourth quarter was 941.7 million leva, or 2.4% of GDP, while the trade balance for the whole year showed a surplus of 1.43 billion leva. , equivalent to 1.1% of GDP.

(Illustration: svilen001/sxc.hu)

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