Bulgaria:  Sound growth in 2019 but slowdown ahead

Bulgaria: Sound growth in 2019 but slowdown ahead

December 19 2019

Real GDP growth decelerated to +3.1% y/y in Q3 from +3.8% in Q2 and +4.5% in Q1, taking the average of Q1-Q3 2019 to +3.8% y/y. The GDP breakdown reveals that strong domestic demand was the main growth driver in Q3, thanks to strong spending of both consumers (+4.4%) and the government (+6.2%). Meanwhile capital spending remained weak, with fixed investment expanding by a mere +0.9% and inventories subtracting -2.1pp from Q3 growth. The main reason for this was continued weak external demand, even though real export growth picked up to +1.8% y/y from a decline of -3% in Q2. And since import fell by -0.2% in Q3, net exports contributed +1.3pp to Q3 growth. Looking ahead, we expect the quarterly decline to continue as domestic demand should weaken gradually. We forecast full-year GDP growth to fall to just below +3% in 2020 from +3.7% in 2019.

Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East