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Bulgaria Bulgaria

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Bulgaria – Quick View
ECR score53.82 (Mar 2011)
ECR rank63 (Mar 2011)
GDP (2010)USD 47.79 billion
GNI per capita PPP (2010)USD 11,139
FDI inflow (Nov 2010)USD 1,225.33 million
Inflation (2010)2.4%
Central bank assets (2010)USD 18,436.77 million
Unemployment rate (Q3 2010)9.5%
Government deficit (2009)USD 445.85 million
Tax revenue (2009)USD 14,365.68 million
Government typeParliamentary Republic
Recent political crisisNA
Economic freedom score (2011)60th
Freedom of information score (2010)70th
Corruption perception index (2010)73rd
Birth rate (2009)10.7%
Population balanceUnder 14 years – 13.6%
Population balanceOver 60 years – 24.3%
Life expectancy yearsMale – 69.9 years
Life expectancy yearsFemale – 77.08 years
Mortality rate (2009)14.2 per ‘000
Literacy rate98%
Internet access47.5%

[Top] Economic Overview

Bulgaria has an open and free market economy. The country’s private sector is large and advanced. Industries play a major role in the economy; however, the services sector has also started contributing to the nation’s GDP.

Gross Domestic Product

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year 2010 was BGN 70.47 billion.

Bulgaria GDP

(Source: National Statistics)

Bulgarian GDP experienced steady growth till 2008. But in 2009, the GDP declined by 1.1% compared to the previous year. Industry (including energy), wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport and communication and financial, real-estate, renting and business activities are the major contributors towards the nation’s GDP. 

(Source: National Statistics)

The nation’s GDP per capita for the year 2008 was BGN 9,090, whereas the GDP per capita, PPP is USD 11,883 (2009) as compared to USD 12,337 in 2008.                                                                     

(Source: National Statistics,

Gross National Income (GNI)

The nation’s gross national income (GNI) per capita PPP in 2010 was USD 11,139 compared to USD 9,696 in 2005.

Bulgaria GNI per capita, PPP

(Source: UNDP)

In 2010, Bulgaria exported goods worth BGN 30.4 billion, an increase of 33% over the previous year. Goods imported were valued at BGN 37.4 billion, an increase of 13.3% compared to the previous year. The total foreign trade balance was a deficit of BGN 7 billion compared to a trade deficit of BGN 8.16 billion in 2009.

The country’s major trading partners other than nations in the European Union include Turkey, Serbia, Russia, Macedonia, the United States, Ukraine, China and Singapore.

(Source: Bulgarian Industrial Association,National Statistics)

Major commodities exported by the country include chemicals and plastics, tobacco, machine-building equipment.

(Source: BBC)


Personal income tax

Income tax on individual income in Bulgaria was taxed at 10% in 2009.

Corporate tax

The standard corporate tax rate in the country was 10%.

Value added Tax

Value added Tax rate is 20% and reduced rate of VAT is of 7%. Exports of the country are exempted from VAT.

The tax rate on real estate that is not used for residential purposes is 0.15%. The transfer rate on real estate and vehicles is levied at 2% - 4%.

(Source: worldwide-tax)

Inflation Rate

The inflation rate in Bulgaria was 2.4% at the end of December 2010.

Bulgaria Inflation Rate

(Source: National Statistics)

In June 2010, inflation fell below 1% and was registered at 0.9%. With increase in the prices of food, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, clothing and footwear, health, transport, housing (rentals, maintenance and repair), water, electricity, gas and other fuels, the inflation rate again increased since June and reached 2.4% in December 2010.

(Source: National Statistics)

Foreign Direct Investment

According to preliminary data, foreign direct investment in Bulgaria for 2012 (January-March) increased to EUR 236.8 million (0.6% of GDP). For the same period in 2011, FDI inflow decreased by EUR 42.2 million (0.1% of GDP). Countries with large net direct investment in Bulgaria during the period January to March 2012 include the Netherlands and Switzerland. By sector, the largest investments in Bulgaria during the period January-March 2012 were in Electricity, gas, and water supply

Foreign direct investment abroad by Bulgaria during January 2012 and March 2012 increased by EUR 20.7 million compared to an increase of 44.0 million for the same period of 2011.

(Source:Central Bank of Bulgaria)

Banking sector assets

The table below displays the assets of the Central Bank of Bulgaria.

Currency Unit: Bulgarian Lev (BGN)

Balance Sheet – Assets of Central Bank of Bulgaria as of April 2012 (BGN ‘000)

Gold and other precious metals


Receivables from central government


Capital investments and IMF quota


Fixed tangible and intangible assets


Deposit with Issue Department


Other assets


Total Assets


(Source: CentralBank of Bulgaria)

[Top] Financial Indicators & Government Financial

Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December 2010 was 139.3 compared to 133.37 in December 2009. The CPI has grown steadily since January 2009.

Bulgaria Consumer Price Index

Base, December 2005 = 100

(Source: National Statistics, National Statistics)

Interest rates

In February 2011, the Bulgarian National Bank announced a basic interest rate of 0.18%, effective in March 2011.

(Source: Central Bank of Bulgaria)


Interest Rates (% in BGN) 


March 2012

March 2011

Over 1 day up to 1 month



Over 1 month up to 3 months



Over 3 month up to 6 months



Over 6 month up to 12 months



Over 1 year up to 2 years



Over 2 years



(Source: Central Bank of Bulgaria)

Money supply (Currency in Circulation)

Money in circulation (broad money) in March 2012 amounted to BGN  57,526.82 million. Broad money (M3) includes M2 and marketable instruments. Quasi money for March 2011 amounted to BGN 51,946.60 million.

Bulgaria Money Supply

(Source: Central Bank of Bulgaria)

Government Expenditure

Government expenditures in Bulgaria exceeded revenues in 2009. Government expenditures amounted to BGN 25,666.91 million and the deficit was BGN 626.05 million. In 2008, government expenditures were BGN 25,323.39 million.

Bulgaria government expenditure, 2009 (BGN ‘000)



In %

Total Expenditure



Wages and salaries



Other payments to employees



Social insurance contributions















Social and health insurance payments



Capital expenditure



Increase of state reserve and purchase of agricultural production



Contribution paid out to the EU budget



National Statistics, National Statistics)

Official exchange rate 2009

BGN per USD rate at the end of December 2010 was registered at 1.47. The exchange rate for BGN per EUR for the same period was 1.95.

Bulgaria Exchange Rate

(Source: CentralBank of Bulgaria)

Government finances

Sovereign debt dynamics

Fiscal balance

Bulgaria Fiscal Balance

The fiscal deficit for the year 2010 was BGN 626.05 million. The country has recorded fiscal deficits for the past five years.

(Source: National Statistics)

Total Revenue

The country's revenue in 2009 was recorded at BGN 25,040.85 million, a decrease of about 8% from 2008 figures of BGN 27,313.21 million.

Revenues of Government of Bulgaria, 2009 (BGN million)

Revenues and Benefits


Total revenues


Tax revenues


Transfers and grants


Other nontax revenues


Revenues from sales of non-financial assets


Revenues from concessions


Revenues from licenses for using government/municipal assets


Fines, sanctions and penalty interests


(Source: National Statistics, National Statistics)

Tax revenue

Tax revenues in 2009 amounted to BGN 20,171.89 million.

National Statistics)

Total Grants

In 2009, total benefits to Bulgaria amounted to BGN 1,326.18 million. Of the total benefits, current grants, benefits and other gratuitously received sums (foreign) was BGN 360.08 million and capital donations, grants and other free amounts (foreign of money) was BGN 945.4 million.

National Statistics)

Current Account Balance - Surplus/Deficit

Bulgaria registered a current account deficit of EUR 282.7 million in 2010. The country has recorded current account deficits for the last seven fiscals.

Bulgaria Current Account Balance










(Source: Central Bank of Bulgaria)

Balance of Payments


Balance of Payments (EUR million)




Current Account



Trade Balance



Exports, f.o.b.



Imports, f.o.b.



Current and Capital Account



Capital and Financial Account



Financial Account (EUR millions)



Foreign Direct Investment



Portfolio Investment - Assets



Portfolio Investment - Liabilities



Other investments - Assets



Other investments - Liabilities



Central bank of Bulgaria)

[Top] Labour Force and Employment Overview

The labour force in Bulgaria was recorded at 3.39 million individuals at the end of the third quarter of 2010. The country’s labour force decreased by 0.6% compared to the third quarter of 2009. The activity rate for females and males was 62.8% and 71.4% respectively in the third quarter of 2010.

The total labour force activity rate for the age group 15 -64 years was 67.1% for the third quarter of 2010. For females, the activity rate was 62.8%, while for males it was 71.4%.

(Source: National Statistics)

Bulgaria Employment Rate

(Source: National Statistics)

At the end of the third quarter of 2010, the employment rate for the economically active population was 60.6%, a decline of 2.5% compared to the employment rate for the same period of 2009. The total number of employed persons was 3.1 million in Q3 2010, a decrease of 175,800 people for the same quarter of 2009.

National Statistics)

Bulgaria Sectorwise Employment

(Source: National Statistics)

The unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2010 was 9.5%. The total number of unemployed persons for the same quarter was 326,600, an increase of 92,100 individuals compared to the same quarter of previous year.

Bulgaria Unemployment Rate

Source: National Statistics)

Minimum wage

The monthly minimum wage prevailing in the country is EUR 123 (BGN 240).


The average monthly wage at the end of December 2010 was BGN 691. In December 2009, the average monthly wage was BGN 625.

(Source: National Statistics)

Level of Unionisation

About 20% of employees in Bulgaria are members of trade unions. The two main union confederations in Bulgaria are the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB/KNSB) and the Confederation of Labour (CL Podkrepa). These two confederations have the status of representative unions at the national level.

CITUB was formed after the end of communism in the country and is a close ally of the political party - United Labour Block (OBT). CITUB has about 350,000 members and 46 trade unions.

The Confederation of Labour was formed in 1989 and has about 109,000 members.        

There are various active trade unions in the country that are not related to the above two confederations. These unions cover various occupations, including journalists, police, fire-fighters and professionals in air and sea transport. There are also unions in some industries, such as electricity generation, that are not affiliated to the main confederations.

The number of union membership has fallen over the years, the main reason for this is the reduction in the size of the manufacturing sector, where unions have traditionally been strong.


[Top] Political Stability

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic ruled by a democratically elected government.

The Prime Minister heads the country’s executive branch. The President is the head of state and serves for a term of five years. The President's main duties include scheduling elections and representing Bulgaria internationally and to head the consultative council for national security.

The country’s parliament, known as the National Assembly, comprises 240 members directly elected for a four year term. Parliament is responsible for enacting laws, approving the budget, setting up presidential elections and passing international treaties and agreements.

Major political parties in the country include –

  • Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria
  • Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)
  • European People’s Party
  • Party of European Socialists
  • Centrist/Liberal party
  • European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR)
  • Extreme nationalist party

(Source:, IPU)

Regulatory Environment in Bulgaria

Bulgaria Economic Freedom Indices


The country’s economic freedom score is 64.9, making its economy the 60th freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Bulgaria ranks 26th out of 43 regional countries in the Europe region. Bulgaria’s overall score is above the global and regional averages.

Corruption perception

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Bulgaria is ranked 73rd on this list which indicates that the corruption levels in the public departments in the country is fairly high.

Bulgaria slipped on the CPI rankings since 2009, when it was ranked 71st with a score of 3.8 which indicates the perceived levels of corruption have increased in the country.


Freedom of Information

After the end of the communist era in 1989, the country’s media sector was liberalised. In Bulgaria, there is no law to regulate the press and the publishing of newspapers is completely free. However, electronic media is legislated as the country adopted the Radio and Television Act in 1998. The Council for Electronic Media regulates the electronic media with respect to requirements such as advertising, sponsorship, copyright, protection of minors.

(Source: European Journalism Centre)

Bulgaria is ranked 70th in the world Press Freedom Index 2010 with a score of 19.00 which indicates that media in Bulgaria is restricted. Reporters Without Borders also commented that media freedom is endangered by organised crime and pressure from political parties.



A few of the major newspapers in the country are:

  • Dnevnik
  • 24 Chasa
  • Trud
  • Novinar
  • Monitor
  • Standart
  • Pari
  • Kapital
  • The Sofia Echo

Judicial system

Judicial power in Bulgaria is independent and is based on the constitution. The judiciary is structured and operates according to the Judicial System Law adopted in 1994.

The Supreme Judicial Council supervises the personnel, organisational and financial management of the judiciary. However, the Supreme Judicial Council does not have the authority to rule on cases.

The judicial power is exercised through the following courts:

  • Regional Courts
  • District Courts
  • Courts of Appeal
  • Supreme Courts including the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Supreme Administrative Court
  • Court martial

(Source: Interpol)

[Top] Demographic Overview

The total population of Bulgaria for the year 2010 was 7.53 million. The country’s population is on the decline.

Bulgaria Population

(Source: World Bank)

The gender ratio in the country is slightly imbalanced i.e. there are 93.6 males for every 100 females in the country. The total number of males in the country was 3.66 million compared to 3.9 million females in the year 2009.

Bulgaria Population by Gender

(Source: UN, National Statistics)

The mortality rate of infants was registered at 10.7 (per 1,000 live births) in 2010. The mortality rate for adults in 2010 for females was recorded at 13.1 (per 1,000 female adult deaths) compared to 15.5 for males (per 1,000 male adult deaths).

The average life expectancy at birth for males is 70 years and in the case of females is 77.2 years (2010).

(Source: National Statistics, National Statistics)

The population below 14 years of age comprises 13.7% of the total population (for the year 2010). In 2009, 27.2% of women and 21% men (% of total population) were aged above 60 years.

(Source: UN, World Bank)

International migrant stock till mid 2010 was 107,200 people. This was approximately 1.4% of the entire population. (Source: UN)

In 2010, 71.7% of the total population resided in urban areas. The urban population grew at a slow pace in last few years.

(Source: World Bank)

The latest figures reveal that the urban population in the country grew at an annual rate of -0.3% between 2005 and 2010. For the same period, the rural population grew at a rate of -1.7% per year.             

(Source: UN)

Immigrants in the country for the year 2009 were recorded at 3,310 individuals compared to 19,039 emigrants from the country. In 2008, the number of people migrating in the country was 1,236 and the emigrants from the country were 2,112.

(Source:  National Statistics)

Ethnic groups in Bulgaria include Thracians, Bulgars (or Proto Bulgarians) and Slavs. Religions followed in the country are East Orthodox Christianity, Muslim and Catholicism.


The country ranks 58th out of 169 countries on the Human Development Index 2010 conducted by the United Nations. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income).

(Source: UNDP)

[Top] Soft Infrastructure

The country’s literacy rate for the year 2008 was estimated at 98%.

(Source: World Bank)

The education system is supported by the state through the Ministry of Education and Science. Education is mandatory for children from seven to sixteen years of age. The main types of secondary school in the nation are general educational, vocational, language schools and foreign schools.

There is also an increase in the number of private schools in the country. The total number of educational institutions in the academic year 2009/2010 was 5,298 of which 455 were private. There are 53 institutions for higher education including those that offer degrees at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Bulgaria Enrolment Rate

Bulgarian is the official language of instruction in educational institutions. In specialised language schools, languages of instruction include English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Armenian, Hebrew, Russian, and other languages. At university level, instruction takes place in English at the American University in Bulgaria, and in German, French and English in some programs in technical universities.

Structure of Education

  • Basic Education (comprises of primary and pre - secondary school)
  • Upper Secondary (provided in three types of schools - comprehensive (general) secondary schools, profile-oriented schools and vocational-technical schools)
  • Higher Education (there are four types of institution for higher education - Higher Education College, University, Equivalent to Universities Specialised Higher Education Institution/Technical University and Academy)

(Source:, National Statistics)

Government expenditure on education for the year 2009 was BGN 2,837.81 million, 2.5% higher than the previous year’s spending of BGN 2,768.39 million.

(Source: National Statistics)

Health care

Prior to 1991, the health care system was centralised. Thereafter, reforms took place in the health sector, mainly in the decision making and funding. Currently, the Ministry of Health and 28 regional health care centres are responsible for preparing the national policy on health and other health related programs. The country legalised private practice in 1991 and since then, private healthcare in the country has expanded.

Funding of health care is through compulsory and voluntary health insurance contributions and taxes.

(Source: WHO)

In 2009, government expenditure on health services was BGN 2,634.4 million compared to BGN 2,830.81 million in 2008.

Bulgaria Government Expenditure on Health

(Source: National Statistics)

[Top] Hard Infrastructure

The mass public transport in the country includes roads and railways. Railways in the country are operated by Bulgarian State Railways. There are also metros and trams in Bulgaria.


In 2009, the total road network in the country was 19,435 km, of which 19,156 km were paved roads and 279 km were unpaved roads.

(Source: National Statistics)


The total length of railway network in Bulgaria at the end of 2010 was 4,098 km.

(Source: World Bank)

Ports: Major ports in Bulgaria are – Port of Bourgas and Port of Varna.

(Source:world port source)


There are 13 airports in Bulgaria. Major airports in the country are



Airport name

Runway length (ft.)




Gorna Oryahovitsa

Gorna Oryahovitsa












Telecommunications networks

The number of mobile phone subscribers in 2010 was 10.2 million. The number of mobile subscriptions was recorded at 135.4 per 100 inhabitants.

(Source: World Bank)

In 2009, the country had 2.2 million fixed line subscribers compared to 2.7 million in 2004.

(Source: ITU)

In 2011, 48.8% of the total population used internet services. In 2006, 28.7% of the total population used internet services.

Bulgaria Internet Users


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