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    Raiffeisenbank: Unemployment rate highest since the beginning of 2004


    Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD published it monthly analysis of the macroeconomic data available as of end-April 2012. The publication points that in February there was an additional deterioration of economic activity, and the industrial production decline accelerated to 4% yoy. Decreases vs. a year earlier were also present in construction output (by 8.5%) and domestic trade (by 5.6%), the latter indicating weak consumption.

    The bank’s analysts also make account of the highest unemployment rate observed since January 2004: 13.5% in February and March. In their opinion the labour market remains one of the most substantial risks before the sustainable recovery of the economy. Note is also taken of the increase of bad and restructured loans to 23.4% in March, which corresponds to the worsening of real sector and employment indicators.

    „Import growth during the first months of the year seem to be the only indicator which stood aloof from the general picture, and this could wrongly be interpreted as a positive signal”, commented the Chief Economist of the bank Kaloyan Ganev. „Our analysis however shows that this growth stemmed, on the one hand, from the recovery momentum which was observed until the beginning of winter, and on the other, to some increased activity related to infrastructure projects in the current year. This was also the reason for the current account deficit displayed in the central bank data. For the whole year, a strong impact of imports on GDP cannot be expected, as no tangible recovery of domestic demand is foreseen”, Ganev added.


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