Bloomberg News

Bulgaria’s Economic Growth Slows in Fourth Quarter From Year Ago

February 15, 2012

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria’s economic recovery slowed in the fourth quarter, as exports to the European Union declined because of the euro-area’s debt crisis.

Gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent from a year ago, compared with 1.6 percent in the previous three months, the Sofia-based Statistics Institute said today in a preliminary estimate. The median estimate of four economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 1.3 percent. Seasonally adjusted growth was 0.4 percent from the previous quarter.

The sovereign-debt crisis in the euro area, which buys 60 percent of Bulgaria’s exports, is curbing economic growth in the EU’s poorest country by per-capita GDP as it emerges from its first recession in more than a decade through exports of its metals, machinery, textiles and furniture.

The International Monetary Fund cut its GDP forecasts for Bulgaria on Dec. 9 to 1.9 percent in 2011 and 1.3 percent in 2012. Growth in the euro region slowed to 0.1 percent in the third quarter from 0.2 percent in the previous three months of 2011 as governments cut spending to rein in budget deficits.

Bulgarians have cut consumer spending and increased savings to shield against unemployment, which rose to 10.4 percent in 2011, the highest in almost two years. Personal and household deposits among the population of 7.3 million rose 4.1 percent to 2.6 billion lev in last year, the central bank said.

--With assistance from {Zoya Shilova} in Moscow. Editor: James M. Gomez

To contact the reporter on this story: {Elizabeth Konstantinova} in Sofia at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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