Energy Minister Peter Dimitrov told Montana residents on Friday.
In 2006, inflation stood at 6.5 per cent, while incomes increased by 17.6 per cent. In 2007, inflation reached 12.5 per cent, while incomes grew 23.9 per cent. Pensions also increased
considerably in the last two years.
Dimitrov said wage grow was hard to define because most Bulgarians earn more than their stated incomes. Significantly, bank deposits increased from 2,860 million leva to 4,270 million leva in 2006 alone. In the last two years, deposits increased by 60 per cent, Dimitrov said.
Despite income growth, living standards still fall a long way short of the EU average, Dimitrov said. Labour productivity in Bulgaria is a mere 33 per cent of the rate in the other EU countries, which is the main cause of low incomes.
Dimitrov predicted that the 2008 inflation rate would be half its last year's level. This forecast may not materialize if the weather is as bad as in 2007, or if the prices of energy sources jump worldwide, BTA reported
Inflation will also be influenced by the fact that prices in Bulgaria are lower than elsewhere in the EU: prices in Bulgaria are 56 per cent of the EU average, compared with 75 per cent of the EU average in Romania and 98 per cent in Greece, Dimitrov said.