Bulgaria’s Top Trading Partners

Bulgaria's Top Trading Partners Bulgarian monastery

Bulgarian monastery

Bulgaria shipped US$26.1 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That dollar figure represents roughly 0.2% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

From a continental perspective, $19.2 billion or 73.8% of Bulgarian exports by value were delivered to fellow European nations while 16.5% were sold to Asian importers. Bulgaria shipped another 3.8% worth of goods to African countries.

At 1.5%, a smaller portion of Bulgarian exports were bought by North American importers.

Bulgaria’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Bulgaria’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Bulgarian shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Bulgarian exports.

  1. Germany: US$3.6 billion (13.6% of total Bulgarian exports)
  2. Italy: $2.4 billion (9.2%)
  3. Romania: $2.3 billion (8.8%)
  4. Turkey: $2.1 billion (8%)
  5. Greece: $1.8 billion (7%)
  6. France: $1.2 billion (4.5%)
  7. Spain: $733.1 million (2.8%)
  8. Belgium: $715.1 million (2.7%)
  9. Netherlands: $706.3 million (2.7%)
  10. United Kingdom: $656.3 million (2.5%)
  11. Poland: $648.2 million (2.5%)
  12. Austria: $507.5 million (1.9%)
  13. Serbia: $494.9 million (1.9%)
  14. China: $481.2 million (1.8%)
  15. Czech Republic: $445.3 million (1.7%)

Almost three-quarters (71.8%) of Bulgarian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Among Bulgaria’s top import customers, Spain increased its import purchases at the fastest pace with a 24.3% gain. In second place was Netherlands’ 17.9% acceleration, followed by the 11.2% improvement for Austria and a 10.8% uptick for Germany.

Deficits

Bulgaria incurred an overall trade deficit of -$2.8 billion during 2017 down -20% from the -$3.5 billion deficit one year earlier.

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Bulgaria incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. Russia: -US$2.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Hungary: -$671.6 million
  3. China: -$665.9 million
  4. Poland: -$521 million
  5. Spain: -$392.8 million
  6. Ukraine: -$371.5 million
  7. Netherlands: -$351 million
  8. Austria: -$291.1 million
  9. Germany: -$231.7 million
  10. Slovakia: -$206.5 million

Among Bulgaria’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Bulgarian deficits with Poland (up 60.6%), China (up 44.7%) and Ukraine (up 19.5%) were the only three to expand from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Bulgaria’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Bulgaria to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Bulgaria incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Greece: US$433.6 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Turkey: $294.2 million
  3. Romania: $283.1 million
  4. France: $264.7 million
  5. Algeria: $245.5 million
  6. United Arab Emirates: $221.4 million
  7. Singapore: $173.7 million
  8. Macedonia: $164.5 million
  9. Lebanon: $120.6 million
  10. Italy: $113.2 million

Among Bulgaria’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Bulgarian surpluses with Algeria (up 322.6%), Romania (up 139.1%) and Lebanon (up 82.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Bulgaria’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Bulgaria to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Bulgarian Trading Partners

Not one Bulgarian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.

Wikipedia lists companies from Bulgaria including international trade players. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Armimex (weapons, ammunition)
  • Astika Brewery (beer)
  • Bulgartabac (cigarettes)
  • Chimimport (chemicals)
  • Kremikovtzi AD (cast iron, steel)
  • LUKOIL Neftochim Burgas (petrochemical products)
  • Maxeurope (bicycles, childcare products)
  • Navibulgar (shipping company)
  • Sofia Mel (bread)
  • Vitta Foods (frozen pastry products)


 
See also Bulgaria’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 14, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Bulgaria. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 14, 2018