FDI in Bulgaria – Reading between the Numbers

By MILENA HRISTOVA   February 17, 2014


The fall in the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Bulgaria slowed down in 2013, the statistics office announced in what has been presented as the latest spade of good economic news.


Foreign direct investment in 2013 has shrunk by 17% year-upon-year , down to EUR 1.229 B from EUR 1.481 B in 2012, brand new data shows.


By country, the largest direct investments in Bulgaria for the period January – December 2013 were made by the Netherlands (EUR 602,6 M) and Luxembourg (EUR 200.4 M).


The good news, authorities say, is that the fall has slowed down its pace - the influx of FDIs got reduced by 20% in 2012 and 40% in 2011, totaling EUR 1,065 B and a whopping 59% in 2010, standing at EUR 1.36 B.


Time for a reality check.


The odds are that this most welcomed money by foreign investors are mostly Russian and Bulgarian money, flowing through companies registered in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.


The statistics do not make clear whether the investments created new jobs and brought added value or just were made in sectors, which are in practice funded by Bulgarian taxpayers.


It is clear even from the official data that foreign investors continue to take out abroad more money than they bring into the country.


What we all know is that: the complex world economic situation, the weak domestic demand, the collapse of the real estate market and the credit crunch, along with some signals by local policy makers forced foreign investors in the property and financial sectors to rethink their plans for the Bulgarian market, disinvest heavily or in some cases leave the country outright.