Riding the economic crisis
In an intensely gloomy economic environment, Bulgaria seems to have a better grip on the problems than many other EU nations. Its economy is currently the fifth fastest growing in the EU, it has the second lowest public debt in the EU, and last July Moody’s gave Bulgaria the only sovereign rating upgrade in the EU since the global crisis began in 2007.
Public finances continue to be well controlled: the country’s budget deficit is expected to be 1.7% of GDP in 2012 – down from 2.5% in 2011.
Of course the economic picture is far from perfect. Domestic demand has yet to recover, credit is very tight, unemployment is now 12.2%, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is still falling – down 40% even on 2010.
However there is enough good news to inspire long-term confidence. Tourism figures are up, absorption of EU funds has improved greatly, and exports remain strong.
For January to November 2011 Bulgaria's exports to non-EU countries increased by 26.5% year on year. Exports to the rest of the EU increased by 33.8% year on year.