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Tourism puts Bulgaria in the black

Bulgaria’s current account posted a surplus of 0.5% of GDP from January to September

Gulf News

Sofia: Bulgaria’s current account posted a surplus of 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product from January to September, helped by a jump in tourism revenues, data from the central bank showed on Friday.

However, the centre-right government expects the current account, the country’s net income, to swing back to a deficit of 1.5 per cent of GDP for the whole of 2012 on hopes of recovering domestic demand that pushes up imports.

Bulgaria’s current account surplus for January through September was €206 million (Dh968 million or $264 million), the data showed. It stood at €895.5 million, or 2.3 per cent of GDP in January-September last year.

Net income from services for the month of September surged to €352.3 million from 292.3 million in the same month a year ago, mainly due to a pick-up in revenues from travel and transport, reflecting a jump in tourism, the same data showed.

Foreign direct investment

Bulgaria’s emerging economy is performing better than many economies in Europe but its growth rates are well below those seen before the global financial crisis. It grew by 0.5 per cent in the third quarter on the year.

The current account data showed that foreign direct investment increased to €971.8 million in the first nine months of the year, from €711.9 million in the same period a year ago.

Strong exports pushed Bulgaria’s current account balance into the black last year, but weak demand in the debt-laden Eurozone slowed export growth in the first nine months of 2012. Bulgaria’s main exports are non-ferrous metals, grains and products for the chemical industry.

Exports grew 2.2 per cent in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier to €15.4 billion, while imports rose by 10.9 per cent to €18.1 billion.