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Bulgaria expects small fiscal deficit through November

11/30/2020 | 11:53am EST

SOFIA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Bulgaria expects a fiscal deficit of 183 million levs ($111.82 million), or 0.2% of gross domestic product, in the 11 months of 2020 as it accelerates spending to cushion the impact from the coronavirus, the finance ministry said on Monday.

The Balkan country plans to end 2020 with a fiscal deficit of 4.4% of GDP, with spending expected to soar in the last month of the year as coronavirus cases surge and ahead of elections due in the spring of 2021.

Sofia registered a fiscal surplus of 654 million levs from January to October, or 0.5% of GDP.

The finance ministry sees the Bulgarian economy contracting by 3% this year. The central bank is less optimistic and sees the economic contraction at 5.5% in 2020.

Government spending is seen at 39.9 billion levs at end-November, some 1.3 billion more than a year ago, mainly due to job-supporting schemes and bonuses to pensioners. Revenues are expected to have dropped by 147 million levs to 39.7 billion levs at the end of November compared to the same period a year ago.

Fiscal reserves, held under a currency regime that pegs the lev to the euro, stood at 13.3 billion levs at the end of October. ($1 = 1.6366 leva) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

© Reuters 2020
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