July Inflation Expected to Be at Least One Percentage Point above June Level

July Inflation Expected to Be at Least One Percentage Point above June Level

Economy and Energy Minister Peter Dimitrov told a news conference on Friday that July inflation is expected to be at least one percentage point above the June level due to the growing prices of energy and energy resources. In June, the National Statistical Institute reported deflation of 0.2 per cent.
Dimitrov noted that after August inflation is expected to decrease tangibly and reach one-digit figure by the end of the year. Supply of foods is set to increase sharply due to the good harvest.

Dimitrov said the 2008 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow between 6.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent. The GDP increase in 2009 is forecast at 6.5 per cent.

Foreign direct investments in 2008 will remain at their 2007 level. The current account deficit is expected to edge down and reach 19 per cent of the GDP at the end of next year. Exports in January-May 2008 increased by 26.1 per cent, and imports, by 25.4 per cent which is expected to underpin the decrease of the current account deficit.

The Minister said that according to August 7 data, the prices of electricity, A-95 petrol and diesel fuel in Bulgaria are the lowest in the EU.

Dimitrov said that the upmark of electricity prices laid down in a concept which will be used as the basis for the national energy strategy until 2020 takes into account the changes in energy efficiency, the new generating facilities and the price of the power to be generated by the future Belene nuclear power plant. Thus, the average price markup is forecast at 4.5 per cent.

The companies which will take part in the preparation of the construction site of the future N-plant are already clear, Dimitrov said. These are: Energoremont, Minstroy, Enemona, Montazhi and Balkanstroy. Dimitrov said there are certain legal problems relating to the site, namely, the property of companies which had taken part in construction works of the plant in a previous stage. Talks are underway to find ways to compensate the companies so that they vacate the site.

Dimitrov said he is meeting Monday officials from RWE and Electrabel who are interested to join the Belene project.

Approached by a reporter to comment the latest statements and alleged proofs by Kozloduy physicist Georgi Kotev, who is on an unpaid leave abroad, that recycled fuel is being used at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant, Dimitrov said that the Inspectorate of the Economy and Energy is considering the matter. Dimitrov said that the experts working on the issue are of the opinion that this is an organized campaign "which has nothing to do with the reality".

The Minister said that in the first half of this year the profit of commercial banks increased 48.5 per cent from a year earlier, which implies that according to this parameter the financial crisis in the United States has not exerted any influence on the Bulgarian financial system.

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