BCCI presents the 13th edition of “Bulgaria in figures®”

The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry presents the 13th edition of the brochure “Bulgaria in figures®”.  The publication reports on the main macroeconomic indicators of the country for the past five years and pays special attention to Bulgaria’s place in international classifications and rankings, which is the first contact of foreign investors with the reality in the country. According to BCCI, Bulgaria’s critical positions in the international rankings can serve as foundation for the development of a future governance programme by legislators.

In 2021, the country’s GDP reached EUR 68 billion, which is the highest level achieved so far, with GDP growth of 3.6% and inflation at 3.3%. It is quite natural that at the current inflation levels of nearly 17% (as of June 2022) the GDP should rise significantly. Unemployment remains at very low level, although the consequences of the pandemic cannot yet be compensated and the pre-crisis level (4.2% in 2019) cannot be reached.

It is important for every investor to know about the possibility of 0% corporate tax rate in municipalities with unemployment 25% or higher than the average for the country, which in 2021 means 164 out of a total of 265 municipalities. Bulgaria is a leader in the EU in terms of the tax system and this is one of the main competitive advantages that the country offers.

Exports in 2021 reached record levels of EUR 35 billion, or a growth of 24%, which is due to the recovery of supply chains and the development of the pandemic. Again, due to increased inflation, we expect in 2022 to register even better results in the country’s exports, but with a reduced profit margin for enterprises. Bulgaria’s leading trade partners in terms of exports this year are Germany, Romania, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Imports of goods and raw materials also registered record levels in 2021, with the trade balance again remaining negative for our country.

In the current situation of a pandemic and a military conflict not far from us, as well as great uncertainty in the supply and prices of raw materials and energy, the investment activity is developing at a slow and highly reserved pace. In 2021, annual inflation reached 3.3%, but it is expected to increase in 2022, reaching a level of over 12%.

The labour market in our country is represented by 54% men and 46% women. The average salary continues to grow, reaching EUR 782 in 2021 and EUR 814 in the first quarter of 2022.

Bulgaria improves its place in the global press freedom index, rising from 112th place in 2021 to 91st place out of 180 countries in 2022, as well as in the “Economic Freedom Index”– climbing from 35th place in 2021 to 29th place in 2022 out of 177 countries. The country’s position in the “Global Peace Index” is also improving – 24th place in 2022 compared to 27th place in 2021.

Bulgaria retains its place in other classifications, such as the world competitiveness ranking of the Institute for Management Development (IMD), Switzerland, where it ranks 53rd out of 63 countries. Unfortunately, the country loses positions in other rankings, such as the World Justice Project’s “Rule of Law Index”, where it falls down 9 positions from 53rd place out of 128 countries in 2020 to 62nd place in 2021, despite the inclusion of 11 new countries in the ranking. The country also loses positions in the “Economic Freedom Index”, going down to 36th place from 32nd place in 2020. In the “Globalization Index” Bulgaria also falls one position down to 33rd place out of 208 countries.

More information about Bulgaria’s place in the international rankings is available in the full version of the brochure “Bulgaria in figures®”.