BULGARIA ECONOMY

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BORISOV'S FIASCO

Nowhere is the abyss between what Boyko Borisov's GERB says it is doing and what it in fact does so obvious than in the economy of what firmly remains the EU's poorest state. Despite the flamboyant media appearances and the merry assertions by senior GERB officials that Bulgaria is grappling the economic crisis successfully, the country remains bogged down in an economic deadend that seems endless unless new idea, new policies and first and foremost new personalities are brought in as soon as possible.

Sat, 01/05/2013 - 14:53
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WHITHER GOEST THE ECONOMY?

From bad to worse? According to a poll by Alpha Research published at the end of 2011, the majority of Bulgarians consider 2011 to have been "the worst" since the economic collapse of 1997. In that year, a Socialist government allowed a bunch of banks to go bust, three-digit hyperinflation ran wild, the overwhelming majority of Bulgarians lost their life savings and a few select "businessmen" made a fortune by borrowing in leva whilst repaying in hard currency.

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:58
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Liquidation

CRISIS IN PICTURES

In the third quarter of 2010 the average monthly income of an adult member of a family in Bulgaria decreased by 2.2 percent on a year earlier.

At the moment it is 932 leva, or 466 euros, according to the National Statistical Institute.

80.7 percent of the typical family income was generated by salaries and pensions.

Salaries accounted for 467 leva, or 233.5 euros, of the average income of an adult household member in Bulgaria in the third quarter of 2010. This is a 4.9 decrease on a year earlier.

Sat, 01/01/2011 - 15:20
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THEN € NOW

"The Bulgarian economy is stable." The words former Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski uttered in October 2008 seem more than just a little out of place a year later. The economic crisis is in full swing and, according to the most optimistic forecasts, will reach its peak from October to December 2009. As a result of the generous spending indulged in from the valuable budget surplus that Bulgaria accumulated over the years when foreign investment flowed in, the picture is far from rosy.

Tue, 07/28/2009 - 12:21
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BITING HARDER

While last autumn the prevailing opinion of people in this country was that the economic crisis did not have a direct effect on them, their view is now completely different. Nearly half of them say that the crisis has entered their homes, in one way or another. This is what a series of surveys conducted by the Open Society Institute show about the impact of the country's economic situation on Bulgaria's population.

Fri, 07/10/2009 - 08:01
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GO GREEN, EVERGREEN

The commercial real estate market in Bulgaria is at a crossroads. All of the three commercial sectors – offices, retail and industrial – have felt the impact of the global economic downturn that started to affect Bulgaria during the last months of 2008 and continues this year.

The slowdown has hit quite differently across the various sub-segments, depending on the stages of development. The question now is how we choose to manage the situation, and what will take off when the light changes to green.

Wed, 04/01/2009 - 21:13
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WHAT A LOVELY CRISIS

The "monster munch," as Londoners call the current credit crunch, in my view is running out steam. Everyone is growing tired of the pundits.

The real crisis started in August 2007, but times have been changing since. Yes, it was a real crisis, and yes, many global banks were fatally wounded, including some of the most venerable names in modern banking.

Sun, 03/01/2009 - 12:17
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GATED IN OR BLOCKED OUT

According to a saying very popular among Bulgarians in the past, "In his life, a man must do three things: raise a child, plant a tree and build a house for his family." Nowadays this way of thinking no longer reflects the urban lifestyle – the current ratio of houses to apartments in most cities is approximately 20:80. In Sofia it has reached 10:90.

Thu, 01/01/2009 - 08:18
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A ROOM WITHOUT A VIEW

The year 2008 taught the world a bitter lesson – in economy terms, we're all in the same boat. No country is safe from the effects of a global crisis. During 2008 most players on the Bulgarian property scene were still in denial about the pending meltdown, hoping they could somehow avoid it. Now that the crisis is offcially here, what's to be expected? The property market and its various sectors will continue to change dramatically as certain crisis-related phenomena appear that we all will have to deal with.

The mortgage mafia

Thu, 01/01/2009 - 08:15
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SINK OR SWIM WITH THE PROPERTY BUBBLE

Is the property boom a bubble on the point of bursting? While Bulgarians fretted over this question for the past year, the global economic "downturn" became a "crisis." The question now is whether Bulgaria has managed to dodge the bullet, as many experts would have us believe. If this were so, why has the property market in 2008 been much less dynamic than it was a year earlier? And is the British pullback to blame?

THE FOREIGN FACTOR

Expect the unexpected

Thu, 01/01/2009 - 08:11
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A MORTAGAGE MELTDOWN?

Bulgarians who hold hefty mortgages may receive an unpleasant Christmas present from their banks, as yet another increase in interest rates on home loans is just around the corner. According to credit experts, rates will soon rise by 0.5 to 1 percentage point. Some banks have already pushed up their interest rates by almost 2 percentage points this year, and the base interest rate has reached 5.33 percent, its highest level in 10 years. Will credit holders manage to pay their debts or is a wave of US-style defaults imminent?

Sat, 11/01/2008 - 14:39
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WELCOME TO THE BULGARIAN ALPS?

"Bulgaria: Austria of the Balkans." This sounds like an alluring idea – especially if you're thinking in terms of infrastructure, standard of living and architecture. However, the people pushing this slogan are investors with a different agenda – they mean Bulgaria to match Austria by length of ski runs. Even Bulgaria's most famous resorts, including Borovets in the Rila, Bansko in the Pirin and Pamporovo in the Rhodope,don't come even close to such a comparison. So despite the financial crisis, several projects to build new ski resorts are in advanced stages of development.

Tue, 01/01/2008 - 13:30
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coming in from the cold

COMING IN FROM THE COLD

Bulgaria has entered the EU after 17 years of economic transition on the thorny way to market economy and Western values. Unrivalled celebrations, lavishly organised by the government, spread the "spirit of Europe" across the country. The new European millennium for Bulgaria started at the beginning of 2007. Mr Balkanski, dressed up in a tailored three-piece pinstripe suit, met old Madam Europe and seduced her with his charms and promises over a bowl of tripe soup and home-brewed rakiya.

Mon, 01/01/2007 - 12:00
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THE HEAT IS ON

Only yesterday, in a rare moment of revelation, did I discover the secret of the central heating system in Sofia: if you want to stay warm in winter, you don't switch it off. Ever. Forget about the hefty bills and crank it up!

Just as in the good old days, before the advance of heating meters and evil companies who read them, heating had one mode, and it was "ON". All winter, no matter how cold or warm it was, the heating was ON - and it was affordable.

Fri, 12/01/2006 - 14:51
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MASTER AND SLAVE

The Russian company AtomStroyExport has won the tender to design, construct and commission Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Power Plant. A month away from being a member of the EU, and only days after the release of the new European Green Book for Energy that calls for the diversification and security of supply, Bulgaria is increasing its energy dependence on Russia - a very delicate issue for the EU.

Fri, 12/01/2006 - 14:38
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PROPERTY: TRICKS OF THE COWBOY TRADE

If you're planning a new build or a renovation, you need to choose your builder carefully. Hiring a cowboy, or rogue, builder who promises to do a job that they have neither the intention nor the ability to do well will make the project one big headache.

Bulgaria has plenty of reputable tradesmen, expats and Bulgarians alike, but along with the good come the bad, so make sure you can see them coming...

The personal touch
The cowboy builder will often use friends and family to plug their services.

Wed, 11/01/2006 - 10:21
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APPROACH WITH CAUTION

"Knowledge is power", Sir Francis Bacon once stated, admittedly without Bulgaria in mind at the time, although anyone buying a property will no doubt agree with him.

Like any country, Bulgaria has its share of dodgy characters looking to profit from naivety. Whether this is simply by charging outrageous prices for property or services, or via shadier methods, your personal and financial savvy will be invaluable.

Sun, 10/01/2006 - 17:00
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BUBBLE TROUBLE

An intriguing fact appeared in The Guinness Book of Records 2004. Bulgaria featured as the country with the fastest rising real estate prices in the world, with an annual rate of increase of 47 percent. Some believed that it was just a one-day wonder, a bubble which would burst very soon. Others, who knew better, rushed to buy real estate properties in Bulgaria. In 2006 "the bubble" is growing bigger and bigger. Some Western European experts have even compared the developments in the Bulgarian market to the early days of the Spanish property boom in the 1980s.

Sun, 10/01/2006 - 16:53
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