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Bulgaria Economy

    Economy—overview: In April 1997, the current ruling Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) government won pre-term parliamentary elections and introduced an IMF currency board system which succeeded in stabilizing the economy. The triple digit inflation of 1996 and 1997 has given way to an official consumer price increase of 1% in 1998. Following declines in GDP in both 1996 and 1997, the economy grew an officially estimated 4% in 1998. In September 1998, the IMF approved a three-year Extended Fund Facility, which provides credits worth approximately $864 million, designed to support Bulgaria's reform efforts. The government's structural reform program includes: (a) privatization and, where appropriate, liquidation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs); (b) liberalization of agricultural policies, including creating conditions for the development of a land market; (c) reform of the country's social insurance programs; and, (d) reforms to strengthen contract enforcement and fight crime and corruption.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$33.6 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,100 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 26%
    industry: 29%
    services: 45% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 3.3%
    highest 10%: 24.7% (1992)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 3.57 million (1996 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: NA

    Unemployment rate: 12.2% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $4.1 billion
    expenditures: $3.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

    Industries: machine building and metal working, food processing, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, ferrous and nonferrous metals

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 41.575 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 51.17%
    hydro: 6.1%
    nuclear: 42.73%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 41.08 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 2.045 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 1.55 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: grain, oilseed, vegetables, fruits, tobacco; livestock

    Exports: $4.5 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: machinery and equipment; metals, minerals, and fuels; chemicals and plastics; food, textiles (1997)

    Exports—partners: Italy 12%, Germany 10%, Turkey, Greece, Russia (1997)

    Imports: $4.6 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Imports—commodities: fuels, minerals, and raw materials; machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; food, textiles (1997)

    Imports—partners: Russia 28%, Germany 11%, Italy, Greece, US (1997)

    Debt—external: $9.3 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $NA

    Currency: 1 lev (Lv) = 100 stotinki

    Exchange rates: leva (Lv) per US$1—1,685.10 (January 1999), 1,760.36 (1998), 1,681.88 (1997), 177.89 (1996), 67.17 (1995), 54.13 (1994)
    note: the official rate is pegged to the euro as of 1 January 1999

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)