What is the biggest city in Bulgaria

General data Bulgaria

Official name:

Republic of Bulgaria (Republika Bulgaria)

Surface:

110 879 km2

Capital (and largest city):

Sofia

Population:

7.4 million

Urbanization:

71%

Literacy rate, total adults:

98.2% (% people older than 15 years)

Currency:

Lev - 1 EUR = 1.95583 BGN

Neighbore states:

Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey

Cities (Population):

Memberships:

European Union, NATO, United Nations, Council of Europe, World Trade Organization, OSCE, Black Sea - economic cooperation

Natural resources:

Bauxite, copper, zinc, bismuth, manganese, rock salt, gypsum, kaolin and marble, smaller deposits of iron, gold, silver, uranium, chromium and nickel

religion

86% Orthodox, 13% Muslim

Economic situation in Bulgaria

Status: September 2015

Source: http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de

Basics

After respectable growth rates between 2000 and 2008 - mostly over 6 percent - the global economic slump in 2009 did not leave Bulgaria unaffected: The gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 5.5 percent. The turnaround was achieved in 2010: +0.2 percent; 2011: +1.8, 2012 +0.8; 2013: +0.9; 2014: + 1.7; 2015 + 2% (forecast). Bulgaria's gross domestic product is around 42 billion euros = 1.5 percent of German GDP. The outlook is clouded by deflationary tendencies and the shock caused by the crises of two banks in 2014. On the positive side, the country is returning to the long tradition of a low national deficit with the 2015 national budget.

As the poorest EU country, Bulgaria has not yet been able to catch up with the other member states with around 46 percent of EU GDP per capita (according to purchasing power standards).

The public infrastructure, especially in the transport and health systems, as well as in education and research, is still underdeveloped. State companies are over-indebted (railways, energy sector, hospitals) and cannot be privatized. The country is suffering from population decline (World Bank March 2015).

Current economic situation

Despite several changes of political power within a short period of time, Bulgaria managed to improve in the “Global Competitiveness Ranking” of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to 54th place (out of 144 countries). The Society of the Federal Republic of Germany for Foreign Trade and Location Marketing (Germany Trade & Invest, GTAI) rates Bulgaria positively in a regional comparison for business areas that rely on export, especially in the IT and electrical engineering industry, in mechanical engineering, in the automotive industry and in environmental technology. According to the World Bank, Bulgaria remains the EU country most affected by demographic change. It received 142nd out of 144 places at the WEF for being able to attract talent (with the exception of the IT sector, which is growing at 10 percent) to the country.

In terms of energy, Bulgaria is heavily dependent on Russian raw materials (for gas: 85 percent, nuclear 100 percent, refineries in Russian hands).

The last economic data for 2015 (as of September 24th) read: gross domestic product +2.2 percent 2nd quarter. (+ 2% 1st quarter), inflation: -0.3% (January - August), gross government debt: 29.1% of GDP (31.07.), Average wage: 450 euros (2nd quarter), Budget surplus: +1 percent (July 31), current account surplus: 1.6 percent (July 31), foreign direct investment: 907 million euros (January-July) (+ 4.8% compared to Jan-July 2014), unemployment rate: 9, 3 percent (August 2015) (August 2014: 10.4 percent).

Bulgaria's “Automotive Cluster”, which is supported by numerous suppliers, is trying to find an automobile production location. A project was conceived in Vidin (formerly 100,000, now 40,000 inhabitants) near the new motorway bridge to Romania for a car manufacturer who wants to produce 200,000 low-segment vehicles per year. The project contains a master plan for the settlement of 10,000 employees (plus families, a total of 50,000 people). At the moment, only the Chinese company “Great Wall” produces small numbers of cars and small commercial vehicles in Bulgaria.

A cluster “dual training” located at DBIHK wants to involve companies with fewer employees in a pilot project and to demonstrate in Bulgaria that vocational training can be more advantageous than university studies with an uncertain outcome. The German companies Lufthansa Technik, ABB and Festo have expanded their involvement, with large companies (including e.g. Liebherr and Pirin Tex) taking elements of the dual training into their own hands.

The top priority of Bulgarian financial policy has so far been a largely balanced state budget. In 2014, this objective was jeopardized by the management of the banking crisis, which primarily affected the systemically important KTB, the country's fourth largest bank. The 2015 state budget shows a surplus of around BGN 800 million (1% of GDP / end of August 2015) and is expected to bring a return to the Maastricht criterion of limiting new borrowing to 3 percent.

The local currency Lev has been linked to the Euro since 1997 and is monitored by a so-called "Currency Board". The fixed exchange ratio to the euro was maintained even in times of crisis: since 1997: 1 lev = 1 DM = 1 / 1.95 euros.

Major industries

Important branches of the economy are power generation, food and beverages, metal industry, mechanical engineering, mining, tourism, software development, pharmaceutical industry, agriculture (especially grain cultivation; less meat production).

Bulgaria is an important location for call centers and technical support via the Internet, which despite its low distribution in the area (only 51 percent of households) in major cities (thanks to fiber optics, among other things) has one of the highest speeds in the world. One of the largest growth sectors is the outsourcing industry, whose number of employees grew by 19.5% in 2014 and, according to expert estimates, is expected to grow by a further 20% in 2015. Bulgaria ranks 9th in the world.

Economic data sheet Bulgaria PDF

Note: This text represents basic information. It is updated regularly. No guarantee can be given for the correctness and completeness of the information.