Bulgaria: A good start to the year

3 min
Manfred Stamer
Manfred Stamer Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East

Seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by +1.5% m/m in February, following a +3.6% m/m increase in January (which however benefited from a low base after -2.1% m/m in December 2018). In working-day adjusted y/y terms, industrial output growth accelerated to +6.6% in February from +2.6% in the previous month, driven by a +9.1% y/y rise in manufacturing. Noteworthy, the recovery in the automotive industry continued in February, with output up by +12.8% y/y (after +4.5% in January). These figures point to a good start into the year and support our full-year 2019 GDP growth forecast of +2.8%. The latter will be a moderate slowdown from the +3.1% GDP expansion in 2018 which was entirely driven by domestic demand. Consumer spending rose by +6.4% last year, public spending by +4.7% and fixed investment +6.5%. Meanwhile, exports contracted by -0.8% while imports grew by +3.7% so that net exports made a negative contribution of -2.9pp to 2018 growth.