Bulgarian Economy: Latest Statistics

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Bulgarian Economy: Latest Statistics

The National Statistical Institute (NSI) released the latest statistics on the Bulgarian economy.

The confidence index in industry in December decreased by 1.5 points from November, the press release says. The decrease is due to more moderate expectations of business leaders concerning industrial production in the following three months. On the other hand, their assessment of the current level of orders is positive while the stock of goods is decreasing.

The industrial production index increased by 10.4 points between October 2006 and October 2007. The period witnessed growth in electricity, natural gas and water production and distribution and in the processing industry - by 27.4 points and 8.4 points, respectively. Decline was registered only in the extracting industry.

Bulgaria's gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2007 was 15.659 bln. leva in current prices. Per capita GDP stood at 2,033.9 leva. Calculated on the basis of an average exchange rate of 1.4234 leva to the US dollar, the values were, respectively, 11.000 bln. dollars and 1,428.8 dollars. In euro, the values were, respectively, 8.006 bln. and 1,039.9. In real terms, GDP grew 4.5 per cent from the third quarter of 2006.

Between July and October 2007, the consumer confidence index decreased by 5.8 points. The decrease was 7.6 points among the rural population and 4.8 points among the urban population. Polls show that consumers' perceptions and expectations grew more pessimistic for a second quarter in a row.

Net revenues from sales in retail trade and in repair of personal possessions and household goods in October 2007 increased 2.3 per cent from October 2006. The increase was larger in trade in textiles, apparel, footwear and leather products, at 14.0 per cent, and pharmaceuticals and medical goods, at 10.8 per cent. Individual consumption absorbed 70.4 per cent of GDP generated in the third quarter of 2007. The index increased 5.0 per cent from the third quarter of 2006.

Between July and October 2007, the use of industrial facilities increased by 1.5 points to 71.9 per cent.

Employed persons totalled 3,315,500 in the third quarter of 2007. They accounted for 49.9 per cent of the population aged 15 or over. Unemployment continued to decrease between the third quarter of 2006 and the third quarter of 2007. Employed persons increased by 114,700 and the employment rate increased by 1.8 points. Unemployed persons in the third quarter of 2007 totalled 235,100 and accounted for 6.6 per cent of the country's workforce. They decreased by 75,300 people from the third quarter of 2006, and the unemployment rate decreased by 2.2 points.

Business barometer polls conducted by the NSI in December 2007 show that labour shortage is a problem for 17.6 per cent of enterprises.

The average monthly wage in September 2007 was 434 leva, 3.6 per cent up from August 2007 and 19.6 per cent up from September 2006.

In December 2007, the perceptions of industrial leaders concerning the intensity of production orders from abroad improved from November 2007.

Bulgaria's current account deficit amounted to 681.0 million euro in October 2007, compared with 546.3 million euro in October 2006. Between January and October 2007 the current account deficit was 4.554 bln. euro (17.0 per cent of projected GDP in 2007), compared with 2.646 bln. euro in January-October 2006 (10.5 per cent of GDP).

The main reason for the increase of the current account deficit was that the foreign trade deficit grew by 1.559 bln. euro. The foreign trade deficit in January-October 2007 was 5.778 bln. euro (21.6 per cent of projected GDP in 2007), compared with 4.219 bln. euro (16.8 per cent of GDP) in January-October 2006.

Bulgarian exports between January and October 2007 totalled 11.037 bln. euro (FOB), compared with 9.986 bln. euro in January-October 2006. Imports in January-October 2007 totalled 16.816 bln. euro (FOB), compared with 14.205 bln. euro in January-October 2006.

Bulgarian direct investment abroad in January-October 2007 stood at 147.0 million euro, compared to 68.3 million euro in January-October 2006.

Foreign direct investment in Bulgaria in January-October 2007 totalled 4.671 bln. euro (17.5 per cent of projected GDP in 2007), compared to 3.503 bln. euro (14.0 per cent of GDP) in January-October 2006. Foreign direct investment in January-October 2007 equalled 102.6 per cent of the current account deficit, compared to 132.4 per cent in January-October 2006.

The foreign trade balance in the third quarter of 2007 was negative as imports of goods and services exceeded exports by 1.763 bln. leva. Foreign trade increased 10.2 per cent in real terms over that period. Exports in the third quarter of 2007 increased 6.2 per cent from the third quarter of 2006, and imports increased 9.6 per cent.

In November 2007, the harmonized index of consumer prices grew 11.4 per cent from November 2006. Among a total of twelve groups of goods and services, prices did not grow only in communications and in alcoholic drinks and tobacco products.

Industrial producer prices on the domestic market in October 2007 increased 11.3 per cent from October 2006. Prices grew 11.5 per cent in the processing and extracting industries and 10.6 per cent in production and distribution of electricity, natural gas and water. Latest barometer polls conducted by the NSI show that in December 2007 one out of every five industrial leaders continues to expect prices to grow in the following three months.

Receivables on loans extended to nonfinancial enterprises and households in October 2007 reached 33.245 bln. leva (63.6 per cent of projected GDP in 2007). Such receivables increased 59.1 per cent, year on year, compared with 56.4 per cent in September 2007. The year-on-year increase with nonfinancial enterprises was 63.5 per cent (compared to 61.9 per cent in September), and with households 52.5 per cent (compared to 48.2 per cent in September).

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