Bulgaria flag Bulgaria: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Bulgaria

Foreign Trade in Figures

Since joining the European Union, Bulgaria has experienced considerable growth in trade, despite a large trade imbalance and recurring deficits. The country is very open to foreign trade, which represents 121% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Bulgaria mainly exports mineral fuel, lubricants and related materials (21.7%), manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (16%), machinery and transport equipment (15.6%), and food and live animals (13,8%); while imports are led by mineral fuel, lubricants and related materials (28.9%), manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (17.4%), machinery and transport equipment (17.3%), and crude materials except for fuel (15.5% - data NSI 2022).

According to preliminary figures by the National Statistical Institute, Bulgaria’s main export destinations in 2022 (Jan-Nov) were Germany (14.2%), Romania (10.1%), Italy (7.5%), Greece (6.4%), and Turkey (5.8%); whereas imports came chiefly from Russia (11.7%), Germany (10.7%), Turkey (8.4%), Romania (6.9%), Greece (6%), Italy and Russia (5.8% each).

According to the latest figures from WTO, in 2021 exports of goods rose by 28.5%, at USD 41 billion, with imports increasing at a faster pace (+31.8%), totalling USD 46.1 billion. The country has a structural trade deficit; however, it is a net service exporter: it exported USD 10.9 billion worth of services, importing only USD 5.6 billion in 2021. The World Bank estimates that in the same year, Bulgaria’s trade balance was positive by 1.7% of GDP. Preliminary data by the National Statistical Institute show that in the first eleven months of 2022, the total value of exported goods amounted to BGN 87.4 billion, which is 40.2% more than the same period of the previous year, while the total value of imported goods added up to BGN 99.9 billion and grew by 44.1%.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 37,85637,66335,05646,21058,049
Exports of Goods (million USD) 33,61733,34031,95441,15750,239
Imports of Services (million USD) 5,9765,9814,7536,0486,897
Exports of Services (million USD) 10,85311,4608,34210,87512,497

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 128.9124.6110.3121.0136.3
Trade Balance (million USD) -3,201-3,256-2,256-3,379-5,098
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,6122,1991,3441,443459
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.85.2-4.310.910.5
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.74.0-10.411.08.3
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 63.260.754.259.667.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 65.763.956.161.368.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 4.43.93.63.43.2
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 2.64.96.81.93.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Bulgaria is member of : the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, etc.

For further information, please consult the website of the Ministry of Economy of Bulgaria.

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Germany 14.0%
Romania 10.1%
Italy 7.5%
Greece 6.5%
Türkiye 5.9%
See More Countries 56.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Russia 10.8%
Germany 10.8%
Türkiye 8.4%
Romania 6.9%
Italy 6.0%
See More Countries 57.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

50.3 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 7.9%
Sunflower-seed, safflower or cotton-seed oil and...Sunflower-seed, safflower or cotton-seed oil and fractions thereof, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified 3.3%
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought ...Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 3.2%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 2.9%
Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic...Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic refining 2.8%
See More Products 79.8%
58.1 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 7.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 5.9%
Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates 3.8%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.3%
See More Products 78.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

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Latest Update: December 2023