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Bulgaria's Economy Shows Signs of Recovery - Think Tank

Date: 05.03.2010

There are indications that Bulgaria’s economy is going to start to recover from the recession, according to a report of the Sofia-based Institute for Market Economy (IME).

The IME has pointed in the first place to the rising increase of Bulgaria’s export in November and December of 2009, and to the 14,3% increase of foreign tourists in the country in January 2010 year-on-year.

The report stresses the fact that Bulgaria’s relatively low-priced tourist packages and the improvements of the country’s resorts may be cause of this increase – which includes more tourists from all major source countries for Bulgaria – Greece (13 % more tourists), Russia (32 %), Serbia (33.8 %), Macedonia (28.4 %), Finland (7.8 %), Romania (7.4 %), UK (6.1 %), Sweden (4.9 %), and France (4.8 %).

The IME says that it is still not clear if the low prices are key for picking Bulgaria as a winter holiday destination, and that the effects of the global economic crisis on these decisions could be evaluated in 1-2 years.

The think tank also mentions the data of the National Statistical Institute about the business climate of the Bulgarian economy showing that it has retained its January levels in February. Bulgaria’s industrial sector registered a 0,4% improvement of its business climate index, which could be interpreted as the basis for a relatively optimistic forecast.

The IME analysis emphasizes the hopes that Bulgaria’s industrial production is going to hit the bottom very soon, and is then going to start to recover – most likely in the second or third quarter of 2010, depending on the foreign demand for Bulgarian-made products.

The data about the business climate in retail sales – a 2.2 % growth in February – also suggests hopes for the start of a recovery.

The IME believes that Bulgaria’s economic recovery will begin from the sectors depending on foreign demand because the recovery in Bulgaria’s major trading partners in Western Europe is going to happen sooner. Central and Eastern European markets are also seen as a potential driver of Bulgaria’s recovery.

The analysis points out that the gloomy forecasts of the IMF and EC about the effects of economic crisis on Eastern Europe have failed to materialize.

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