Wednesday kicked off grimly with news that restoration work after the recent flooding in central Bulgaria will cost more than 60 million leva. Karlovo's mayor Emil Kabaivanov provided this as an estimate during an interview with Nova TV. He said that more than 340 houses have sustained varying degrees of damage; six are completely destroyed, and at least 60 are uninhabitable.
A total of 378 families need support from the Social Assistance Agency. Flooding has also destroyed seven large and 10 smaller bridges connecting villages in the region.
Economy grew less during second quarter than forecast
Economic growth in the second quarter of the year was smaller than previous national statistics showed. Bulgaria's GDP grew by 4% year-on-year in the April-June period, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute. This is by 0.8 pr. points and lower than the first estimate of the statistics. On a quarterly basis, there was also a revision from 1.1 to 0.8%.
According to the new data, GDP for the second quarter was almost 39 bln. lv., or by 0.7 bln. lv. more than the NSI initially reported. Despite the nominally higher growth of the economy, however, the national statistic reduced its estimate of real growth by 0.8 percentage points to 4%, which can be explained by using a different, significantly higher deflator. This is a measure of price increases that differs from consumer inflation, as price appreciation in different sectors of the economy and changes in export prices can vary widely. A similar revision was made to data for the first quarter of the year, where the nominal difference was even larger.
Natural gas operator reports big profit
State-owned gas operator Bulgartransgaz reported more than double the profit for the first six months of this year compared to the same period of 2021 - 115 million lv. The result is somewhat surprising against the backdrop of reduced Russian supplies and limited consumption - with a drop of 14%.
A more detailed analysis of the data, however, shows that a large part of the positive financial result comes fees levied on transporting gas to balance supply and demand, as well as because of increased transit traffic to Serbia via TurkStream. The latter, however, is more of an accounting operation, as last year Gazprom covered its fees up to mid-2023. There is also a positive effect from exchange rates, especially from the appreciation of the dollar, as some of the company's deposits are in this currency.
Bulgarians abroad submit fewer requests to vote
The trend of declining interest in submitting a request to vote from abroad continues. This can be concluded from a reference on the website of the Central Election Commission (CEC), according to which Bulgarians abroad have submitted 50 865 requests for the establishment of polling stations for the early parliamentary elections on 2 October. This is 5 thousand down on last year's November elections and more than 35 thousand down on the vote in April last year.
The drop in requests does not necessarily foreshadow a smaller voter turnout. Last week, CEC spokesman Tsvetozar Tomov explained this through the changes to the Electoral Code, according to which polling stations should be opened automatically in places where there has been a polling station with at least 100 people voting in the last five years.