The National Statistical Institute (NSI) has released preliminary data revealing that Bulgaria’s gross domestic product (GDP) experienced a modest growth of 1.8% in real terms in 2023. This expansion marks a slowdown compared to the 3.9% growth recorded in the previous year, according to aggregated quarterly data.

In 2023, Bulgaria’s GDP reached a nominal value of BGN 183.7434 billion (EUR 93.947 billion), with BGN 28,516 (EUR 14,580) per capita. The gross added value amounted to BGN 161.1947 billion, indicating a 0.8% increase compared to 2022, as per NSI data.

The composition of the economy saw notable shifts, with the agricultural sector’s share in the added value decreasing to 3.5% while the industrial sector’s contribution increased to 28.9%. The services sector also saw growth, accounting for 67.6% of the added value, up from 67.0% in 2022.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Bulgaria’s economy expanded by 0.5% compared to the previous quarter and by 1.6% year-on-year. Final consumption in the same period increased by 0.8% from the previous three months and by 2.6% from the end of 2022.

However, the trade balance presented mixed results, with merchandise exports rising by 1.4% from the third quarter but falling by 1.9% year-on-year. Imports increased by 4.1% quarter-on-quarter but contracted by 4.4% compared to the previous year.

The latest figures on Bulgaria’s GDP growth and sectoral performance reflect a complex economic landscape that demands nuanced analysis and strategic planning. While the overall growth rate has moderated compared to previous years, variations across sectors and trade dynamics hint at both challenges and opportunities for the nation’s economic future. As policymakers and analysts delve into the data, their insights will be crucial in formulating policies that promote resilience, innovation, and inclusive growth, laying the groundwork for Bulgaria’s continued economic advancement.