Bulgaria experienced a strong growth starting from 1996. Successive governments showed a commitment to establishing tax and economic reforms, but they did not manage to control inflation and the current account deficit. During this time, Bulgaria was attracting a lot of FDI; however, the country has been badly hit by the financial crisis of 2008. As a member of the EU since 2007 and therefore subject to certain economic criteria, Bulgaria has since introduced a series of measures aimed at improving its economy and reducing its public deficit.
The 2009 recession materialized in a 5.5% contraction of the GDP and an unemployment rate that has gone from 5.6% in 2008 to 12.3% in 2013. The economic growth has been close to zero in 2013 (0.5%), after a growth of +0.8% in 2012, in a very tough economic context due in particular to a succession of political crisis. However, growth could reach 1.7% in 2014 according to the EU.
Today enjoying relative financial stability and having one of the lowest debts on the continent, of only 19,4% of GDP in 2013, Bulgaria - since its entrance into the EU - has continued its rapid transition, which was however restrained by the 2011 European crisis. The Bulgarian authorities have now made fiscal governance a priority and the government has implemented an austerity plan to deal with the consequences of the crisis, capping state expenditure, limiting the fiscal deficit to 3% and lowering the public debt.
The country faces many other challenges, including problems of corruption within the administration, a weak judicial system and the spreading of organized crime.
|Main Indicators||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015 (e)|
|GDP (billions USD)||53.58||51.33||53.05e||55.08e||57.60|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||1.8||0.6||0.9||1.4e||2.0|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||7,312||7,049||7e||7,648||8,037|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-1.7||-0.2||-1.4e||-2.1||-1.3|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||15.4||17.5||16.4||25.2e||25.1|
|Inflation Rate (%)||3.4||2.4||0.4||-1.2e||0.7|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||11.4||12.4||13.0||12.5||11.9|
|Current Account (billions USD)||0.05||-0.47||1.00||-0.13||-1.32|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||0.1||-0.9||1.9e||-0.2||-2.3|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Traditionally an agricultural country, Bulgaria is now considerably industrialized. In 2013, the agricultural sector contributed around 5.3% to the GDP and employed 6.5% of the active population.
The country has a skilled and inexpensive workforce. Nearly a third of the population works in the industrial sector. Bulgaria's main mineral resources include bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, lignite (brown coal), iron ore, oil and natural gas.
Industry still depends on heavy manufacturing sectors (metallurgical, chemical, machine building), which were developed during the socialist period. However, the most dynamic sectors are textile, pharmaceutical products, cosmetic products, and now, the mobile telephone industry and software industry. The manufacturing industry accounted for 31.2% of the GDP in 2013. It currently employs 32.5% of the active population.
The tertiary sector contributes to 63.5% of the GDP and employed 61% of the active population in 2013.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||6.4||31.3||62.2|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||5.5||27.9||66.6|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||3.3||-0.1||1.6|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
|Bulgarian Lev (BGN) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||1.41||1.48||1.41||1.52||1.47|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.
Since joining the European Union, Bulgaria has experienced considerable growth of its trade, despite its large trade balance and recurring deficits. Bulgaria is more and more dependent on other European countries successes and in particular of Greece and Italy, countries currently facing strong difficulties. The EU countries have represented more than 50% of its exports and imports in 2013. The Bulgarian government has a proactive European attitude and trade remain critical to the development of the country.
Bulgarian exports go mainly to Germany, Turkey, Italy, Romania, Greece and France. Bulgaria mainly exports semi-processed goods and unprocessed products. The country also produces and export coal, iron, oil and gas. But the most dynamic sectors are textile, pharmaceuticals, software and mobile phone technologies. The country's main imports are food products, fuel, energy and capital goods from Russia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Greece and Turkey. The rise in energy prices has made Russia the leading supplier of Bulgaria, followed by Germany and Italy.
Bulgaria's foreign trade was indirectly affected by the global economic crisis, insofar that Bulgaria's main partner countries, which are in majority European countries, reduced their orders. The current difficulties of the EU economies further worsen this situation, although Bulgarian exports have shown resistance and they are stagnating rather than regression. The case in point was Greece, which was severely affected by the financial crisis and, therefore, strongly reduced its imports from Bulgaria. Bulgarian foreign trade have resumed growth since 2012.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||23,539||25,513||32,582||32,710||34,262|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||16,318||20,630||28,208||26,715||29,470|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||5,018||4,160||4,226||4,386||4,746|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||6,822||6,630||7,431||7,371||7,551|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||-21.5||4.1||8.5||4.5||4.9|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||-11.7||17.2||11.5||0.8||9.2|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||52.3||57.9||62.7||67.5||69.0|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||43.8||55.1||63.6||64.6||68.4|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-5,773||-3,671||-2,973||-4,456||-3,122|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||-3,923||-1,287||294||-1,474||-341|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||96.1||113.1||126.3||132.1||137.4|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data
(% of Exports)
|See More Countries||55.3%|
(% of Imports)
|See More Countries||50.7%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
|- bn USD of products exported in 2013|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||13.1%|
|Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought ...Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405)||5.0%|
|Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic...Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic refining||3.5%|
|Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin||3.2%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||2.6%|
|See More Products||72.6%|
|- bn USD of products imported in 2013|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude||13.1%|
|Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates||5.7%|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||5.0%|
|Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons||3.7%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||2.9%|
|See More Products||69.6%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
|- bn USD of services exported in 2011|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||40.27%|
|Education-related expenditureEducation-related expenditure||1.71%|
|Health-related expenditureHealth-related expenditure||0.28%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||13.06%|
|Expenditure by seasonal and...Expenditure by seasonal and border workers||1.48%|
|Air transportAir transport||9.40%|
|Road transportRoad transport||7.79%|
|Rail transportRail transport||1.39%|
|Sea transportSea transport||0.53%|
|Inland waterway transportInland waterway transport||0.19%|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||10.51%|
|Research and developmentResearch and development||2.35%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||2.09%|
|Services between related...Services between related enterprises, n.i.e.||1.79%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||1.65%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||1.44%|
|Business and management...Business and management consulting and public relations services||0.63%|
|Legal servicesLegal services||0.51%|
|Accounting, auditing,...Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping, and tax consulting services||0.30%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||1.00%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||0.21%|
|Waste treatment and...Waste treatment and depollution||0.09%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||0.57%|
|Other trade-related servicesOther trade-related services||0.39%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||0.23%|
|Computer servicesComputer services||5.43%|
|Information servicesInformation services||1.29%|
|Other information provision...Other information provision services||1.28%|
|News agency servicesNews agency services||0.01%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||2.49%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.18%|
|Other direct insuranceOther direct insurance||1.88%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||0.54%|
|Construction abroadConstruction abroad||0.52%|
|Audiovisual and related servicesAudiovisual and related services||0.56%|
|Military units and agenciesMilitary units and agencies||0.13%|
|Embassies and consulatesEmbassies and consulates||0.05%|
|Other personal, cultural, and...Other personal, cultural, and recreational services||0.20%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||0.01%|
|- bn USD of services imported in 2011|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||22.09%|
|Education-related expenditureEducation-related expenditure||0.82%|
|Health-related expenditureHealth-related expenditure||0.69%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||9.51%|
|Expenditure by seasonal and...Expenditure by seasonal and border workers||4.09%|
|Sea transportSea transport||14.09%|
|Air transportAir transport||6.70%|
|Road transportRoad transport||5.68%|
|Rail transportRail transport||0.56%|
|Inland waterway transportInland waterway transport||0.31%|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||17.68%|
|Architectural, engineering,...Architectural, engineering, and other technical services||5.25%|
|Services between related...Services between related enterprises, n.i.e.||3.23%|
|Legal, accounting, management...Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations||2.83%|
|Business and management...Business and management consulting and public relations services||2.30%|
|Legal servicesLegal services||0.35%|
|Accounting, auditing,...Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping, and tax consulting services||0.18%|
|Research and developmentResearch and development||2.73%|
|Other business servicesOther business services||2.55%|
|Advertising, market research,...Advertising, market research, and public opinion polling||0.93%|
|Agricultural, mining, and...Agricultural, mining, and on-site processing services||0.18%|
|Waste treatment and...Waste treatment and depollution||0.14%|
|Operational leasing servicesOperational leasing services||2.68%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||1.82%|
|Other trade-related servicesOther trade-related services||1.82%|
|Computer servicesComputer services||3.40%|
|Information servicesInformation services||1.00%|
|Other information provision...Other information provision services||0.95%|
|News agency servicesNews agency services||0.05%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||3.02%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.35%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||0.31%|
|Other direct insuranceOther direct insurance||2.65%|
|Audiovisual and related servicesAudiovisual and related services||1.92%|
|Embassies and consulatesEmbassies and consulates||0.01%|
|Other personal, cultural, and...Other personal, cultural, and recreational services||0.42%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||1.72%|
|Construction abroadConstruction abroad||0.10%|
Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data
The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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