Quick facts:

Territory 110,994 km2
Population 7.28 million (2013)
Currency Bulgarian lev (BGN)
Capital Sofia
Official language Bulgarian. Russian and English are widely spoken.
Memberships EU, WTO, OSCE, BSEC, the Council of Europe, the UN Security Council etc.
Real GDP per capita 3,700 EUR per inhabitant (2012)
Growth of GDP, % 0.8% (2012). Forecast: 0.5% in 2013, 1.5% in 2014, 1.8% in 2015
Average gross salary 796 BGN / ca 407 EUR (March 2013)
VAT rate 20%
Company Income Tax 10%
Phone code +359
Top domain .bg

Bulgaria is a country located in South-eastern Europe. It borders with Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea.

The strongest economy sectors include Energy, Metallurgy & Mining, Machinery, Agriculture and Tourism. The industrial sector accounts for approximately one-third of the GDP followed by agriculture.  The main manufacturing sectors are: Electricity, gas & water, Food, Beverages & Tobacco, Machinery & Equipment, Metals, Chemicals, Refined Petroleum and others.

Bulgaria’s main export commodities are footwear & clothing, steel, iron, machinery & equipment and fuel. The main export markets include Germany, Turkey, Italy, Romania, Greece and France.

Before the global financial crisis the Bulgarian economy was showing remarkable growth at more than 6% per year. Since 2001, it has managed to attract considerable amounts of FDI.  According to the National Bank of Bulgaria, in 2012 the total foreign direct investment inflow was 1.47 billion EUR (3.7% of GDP), which was a significant increase on that of the previous year. The largest share of FDI was in the production and distribution of electrical and thermal energy, gas fuel and water.

During the global financial crisis, the Bulgarian economy sharply declined by 5.5% in 2009, however, unlike the other Balkan countries (except Turkey), the country managed to quickly restore its economy and in 2010 the GDP showed a 0.2% growth rate. In 2012, the Bulgarian GDP at current prices amounted to 39.6 billion EUR, which was a 0.8% increase against the previous year. According to the European Commission forecast, during 2013-2015, Bulgaria’s GDP will be growing at 0.5% -1.8% per year.

In 2012, according to the Central Bank of Bulgaria, the impact of the Eurozone recession on Bulgarian economic activity that began showing in 2012 was limited in the first quarter of 2013 due to the increase in exports and improved expectations of economic agents. Despite relatively modest improvements in the international economic environment, goods and services exports picked up significantly, with Bulgarian firms exporting to both non-EU and EU countries and increasing their market share of the total EU imports.