Bulgaria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2018 was 3.1 per cent, Assoc. Prof. Victor Yotsov of the Institute for Economic Studies with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) said at a BTA-hosted briefing on Monday. Yotsov presented BAS' annual report on Bulgaria's economic development and policies in 2019 which focuses on structural imbalances and the risks they spell for the economy.
Yotsov said that although the 3.1 per cent growth remains above the average for the EU, it is one of the lowest growths reported by the newer EU member states.
The economist noted that keeping the current pace of growth means that catching up with the per capita average income in the EU "is far in the future". "The growth pace we have is extremely insufficient," Yotsov said. The forecast is that the 2019 GDP growth will slow down a bit.
Exports in 2018 were close to their 2017 levels. Imports in 2018 increased 3.7 per cent compared to 2017. Nedyalko Nestorov of the team who prepared the report said that Bulgaria buys good mainly from Germany, Russia, China, Italy and Turkey. Imports from these five countries account for 42 per cent of the total imports.
The Bulgarians mostly need consumer goods. The Bulgarian industry falls short of meeting this demand, so that this country imports consumer goods. Bulgaria mainly exports commodities with low added value, such as raw materials, Nestorov said.
One of the recommendations of the report says that Bulgaria should attain a long-term and lasting economic growth of at least five per cent per year.