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Economy of Bulgaria

The economy of Bulgaria functions on the principles of the free market, having a large private sector and a smaller public one. Bulgaria is an industrialised upper-middle-income country according to the World Bank. It has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years reaching estimated Gross domestic product of $123.9 billion (PPP, 2014), GDP per capita of $17,054 (PPP, 2014), and mean monthly salary of 897 leva (459 EUR) (April, 2015).

Since 2001, Bulgaria has managed to attract considerable amounts of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During the Financial crisis of 2007-2010, Bulgaria marked a decline in its economy of 5.5% in 2009, but quickly restored positive growth levels to 0.2% in 2010, in contrast to other Balkan countries. However, the growth continued to be weak in the following years, allowing the pre-crisis level of GDP to be reached in 2014.

The strongest sectors are energy, mining, metallurgy, machine building, agriculture and tourism. Primary industrial exports are clothing, iron and steel, machinery and refined fuels. Low productivity and competitiveness on the European and world markets alike due to inadequate R&D funding and a lack of a clearly defined development policy remain a significant obstacle for foreign investment and economic growth.

Sectors

Industry and construction

Much of Bulgaria's communist-era industry was heavy industry, although biochemicals and computers were significant products beginning in the 1980s. fter showing its first growth since the communist era in 2000, Bulgaria's industrial sector has grown slowly but steadily in the early 2000s. The performance of individual manufacturing industries has been uneven, however. Food processing and tobacco processing suffered from the loss of Soviet markets and have not maintained standards high enough to compete in Western Europe.

Energy

Bulgaria relies on imported oil and natural gas (most of which comes from Russia), together with domestic generation of electricity from coal-powered and hydro plants, and the Kozloduy nuclear plant. The economy remains energy-intensive because conservation practices have developed slowly. The country is a major regional electricity producer.

Bulgaria ranks as a minor oil producer (97th in the world) with a total production of 3,520 bbl/day.

Recent years have seen a steady increase in electricity production from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Services and tourism

Although the contribution of services to gross domestic product (GDP) has more than doubled in the post-communist era, a substantial share of that growth has been in government services, and the qualitative level of services varies greatly.

In 2007 Bulgaria was visited by 5,200,000 tourists, ranking 39th in the world. Tourists from Greece, Romania and Germany account for 40% of visitors.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing

In the communist era, Bulgaria's agriculture was heavily centralized, integrated with agriculture-related industries, and state-run. Bulgaria's main field crops are wheat, corn, and barley. The main industrial crops are sugar beets, sunflowers, and tobacco. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are the most important vegetable exports. Production of apples and grapes, Bulgaria's largest fruit products, has decreased since the communist era, but the export of wine has increased significantly.

In 2005 about 70 percent of the total forest resource was rated economically viable.

The fish farming industry (particularly sturgeon) has expanded in the early 2000s, and some environmental improvements in the Black Sea and the Danube River, the principal sources of fish, may increase the take in future years.

Mining and minerals

Bulgaria's mining industry has declined in the post-communist era. Many deposits have remained underdeveloped because of a lack of modern equipment and low funding. Mining has contributed less than 2 percent of GDP and engaged less than 3 percent of the workforce in the early 2000s. Bulgaria has the following estimated deposits of metallic minerals: 207 million tons of iron ore, 127 million tons of manganese ore, 936 million tons of copper ore, 238 million tons of chromium ore, and 150 million tons of gold ore.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economy Of Bulgaria"

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