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Bulgaria: Country Economic Forecast: 18 Apr 2013

7 Pages Oxford Economics April 18, 2013 SKU: OFE5027229

With early elections scheduled for 12 May, the centre-right GERB party (which governed the country between 2009 and February) is ahead of the Socialists in the polls. But the winner will almost certainly need to form a coalition with smaller parties, because a parliamentary majority - requiring 43% of the vote - is out of reach of the leading contenders. Current estimates give GERB 38% of the vote, with 30% support for the Socialists. Even though the President has stated that fiscal discipline will be maintained, the Socialists have already pledged to increase wages and abolish Bulgaria's 10% flat income tax scheme. And even if GERB wins, it will continue to face popular pressure to loosen fiscal policy in order to improve living standards and create jobs. But for now we still assume that a persistent deterioration of the fiscal stance will not take place and that the budget will gradually return to balance by 2018. But we may have to adjust our forecasts depending on the outcome of the elections. Meanwhile, Bulgaria continues to enjoy low borrowing costs in financial markets. On 25 March, the government successfully issued BGL50m (€25m) in 5-year lev-denominated bonds carrying a yield of just 2.3%, lower than that of bonds with similar maturities from other Eastern European countries. And also in March, Fitch confirmed Bulgaria's BBB- investment grade status with a stable outlook, stating that the current political uncertainty represents no threat to public finances.

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Bulgaria: Country Economic Forecast: 18 Apr 2013

Oxford Economics
April 18, 2013

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