Country Listing

Bulgaria Table of Contents



Gross National Product (GNP): Estimated at US$47.3 billion, or US$5,300 per capita in 1990. Growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) 2.8 percent 1985-89, after continuous shrinkage through 1980s. Economic growth slowed in 1991 because of large-scale restructuring of economy from centralized planning to privatized market system.

Energy: Critical shortage of conventional fuels beginning with interruption of supplies from Soviet Union in 1990; heavy reliance on nuclear power from Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. Some small hydroelectric power plants. Main coal source Maritsa Basin (low-calorie, high-pollutant lignite); little domestic natural gas, oil, or hard coal.

Industry and Mining: Dramatic postwar growth in chemical, electronics, ferrous metals, and machinery industries, at expense of light industries such as food processing and textiles. Relatively narrow industrial base concentrated in several industrial centers, with inefficient use of fuels and raw materials. Major mining centers confined to lignite, iron ore, zinc, copper, and lead.

Agriculture: Redistribution of land from large-scale state farms to private ownership begun 1991; private plots, much more productive per hectare, vital to domestic food supply. Major crops: corn, tomatoes, tobacco (fourth largest exporter in world), attar of roses (world's largest exporter), grapes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, oilseeds, soybeans, and potatoes. Most numerous livestock: pigs, sheep, and chickens.

Exports: US$16 billion in 1989, of which 60.5 percent machinery and equipment, 14.7 percent agricultural products; 10.6 percent manufactured consumer goods; 8.5 percent raw materials, metals, and fuels. Largest export markets in 1989 Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Czechoslovakia, Iraq, Libya.

Imports: US$15 billion in 1989, of which raw materials and fuels 45.2 percent, machinery and equipment 39.8 percent, manufactured consumer goods 4.6 percent, agricultural products 3.8 percent. Largest import suppliers in 1989 Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), Austria.

Balance of Payments: Hard currency trade surpluses maintained through 1985, when hard currency shortage caused recurring major trade deficits. Economic crisis of 1990-91 caused moratorium on hard-currency interest payment on foreign debt (US$10 billion in 1990).

Exchange Rate: Floating exchange rate established 1990, ending limitation of conversion to within Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon). First conversion tables issued by Bulgarian National Bank in 1991; official conversion value in 1991, 18 leva to U.S. dollar.

Inflation: Removal of price controls on selected categories of goods in 1991 led to severe but uneven price rises. On average, housing rose by 3.7 times, clothing three times, food six times in 1991 compared with 1989.

Fiscal Year: Calendar year.

Fiscal Policy: Governmental economic planning system remained centralized under noncommunist administration in 1991. Profit taxes (50 percent on profits of nonagricultural enterprises in 1990) most important state revenue source. Also turnover taxes on retail sales, excises on tobacco and alcohol, and individual income tax (less than 10 percent of total state revenue). Extensive state subsidies remained on selected economic activities in 1991.

Data as of June 1992