IMF (International Monetary Fund) has cut the forecast for Bulgaria’s economic growth. According to IMF the the raise will be of no more than 5.5% for 2008 and 4.75% for 2009. That was announced at a press conference yesterday by Albert Jaeger, chief of IMF mission in Bulgaria.
Mr. Jaeger also said that despite the concerning levels of inflation in 2007, prices are not likely to sustain their upward trend. It was said that last year’s inflation was caused by weather factors – drought, and a hike in utility prices.
IMF experts Jaeger and Juan Fernandez-Ansola (regional representative for Romania and Bulgaria) met state officials from the Finance Ministry, the Bulgarian National Bank, the Financial Supervision Commission, as well as private business representatives, in order to discuss the outlooks and the impact of the global financial markets on Bulgarian economy.
Officials are concerned about Bulgaria’s mixed signal over the last few years. One one side, Jaeger said, are the economic growth and all-time capital inflows, while on the other are the double-digit inflation and high account deficit. This indicates that the private sector now spends more than it actually earns.
IMF officials still believe that although the impact of the global financial recession on Bulgaria has been restricted, there might be delayed knock-on effects. If this happens, it will lead to the cut-down of exports and a decline of the capital inflows.
In addition, IMF officials advised that Bulgaria should keep high fiscal surplus. They warned the Bulgarian Government to be careful about the public sector reforms. They reminded that they should be considered from financial point of view and not political.