Bulgaria foreign trade gap shrinks in H1 2015

Bulgaria foreign trade gap shrinks in H1 2015

Sofia, August 10, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

Bulgaria’s foreign trade gap in the first half of this year continued its downward trend seen in the previous months, shrinking to 3.04 billion leva (about 1.56 billion euro), or 1.09 billion leva that during the first half of 2014, according to figures released by the National Statistical Institute on August 10.

Exports, calculated in free-on-board (FOB) prices, rose by 11 per cent to 22.4 billion leva, including four billion leva in June alone, which was 8.7 per cent higher than the same month of last year.

Imports, calculated using cost, insurance and freight (CIF) prices, were 25.4 billion leva, rising by 4.7 per cent year-on-year, including 4.4 billion leva in June, a 5.8 per cent increase over the same month of 2014.

At FOB/FOB prices (after elimination of transport and insurance costs on imports), the foreign trade balance was also negative in the first half of the year and amounted to 1.94 billion leva.

In the first six months of the year, exports to non-EU countries recorded a 8.8 per cent increase, while imports (in CIF prices) were down by 0.1 per cent, resulting in a trade gap of 1.12 billion leva, down from 1.8 billion leva in the same period of 2014.

The main export destinations were Turkey (where Bulgaria’s trade surplus rose from 502 million leva in January-June 2014 to 611 million leva in the first six half of this year), China, Singapore, Serbia, US, Russia and Macedonia. The seven markets accounted for 55.4 per cent of total Bulgarian exports outside the EU.

In terms of imports, the largest trade partner remains Russia – the main source of energy resources for Bulgaria, but showing a nine per cent decline to 3.13 billion leva – followed by Turkey, China and Ukraine.

Trade with EU countries grew even faster than trade with third-countries in the first six months of 2015, as exports rose by 12.4 per cent and imports (in CIF prices) were up by 7.6 per cent.

The statistics institute provided no break-down by country for the first six half of the year (the data will be available next month), but said that in the January-May period, the main destinations of exports from Bulgaria were Germany (up by 12.3 per cent to 2.35 billion leva), Italy, Romania, Greece, Belgium and France – which combined to account for a total of 70.1 per cent of total exports to EU countries during the first five months of the year.

In terms of imports (in CIF prices) for the January-May period, the biggest trade partners were once again Germany (up by 14.7 per cent to 2.7 billion leva), Italy, Romania, Spain and Greece.