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Bulgarian Economic Growth Slows in Fourth Quarter on Exports

Bulgaria’s economic recovery slowed in the fourth quarter as factory orders and exports to the European Union declined because of the euro-area’s debt crisis.

Gross domestic product expanded 1.6 percent, compared with a 1.5 percent estimate on Feb. 15, the Sofia-based Statistics Institute said today on its website. Seasonally adjusted GDP was 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, after a 0.4 percent growth estimate. Bulgaria’s economy grew 1.7 percent last year, after a revised 0.4 percent in 2010, according to the institute.

The sovereign-debt crisis in the euro area, which buys 60 percent of Bulgaria’s exports, is curbing economic growth in the EU’s poorest country by per-capita GDP as it emerges from its first recession in more than a decade through exports of its metals, machinery, textiles and furniture.

The EU estimated Bulgaria’s economy to grow 1.8 percent in 2011 and 1.4 percent this year in a Feb. 23 estimate, citing stagnant domestic demand.

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