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SOFIA (Bulgaria), January 8 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's economic expansion is expected to slow down to 3% in 2019 from an estimated 3.2% last year, due to a drop in exports and deceleration in domestic consumption growth, France-based credit insurance company Euler Hermes said on Tuesday.
Net exports are expected to drop by 4.2% in 2018 and remain negative in 2019 as a result of a further decrease in exports to neighbouring Turkey, Euler Hermes said in a press release.
Exports to Russia are expected to stabilise, but at a lower level compared to previous years, while exports to the EU are expected to slow down due to the region's decelerating economic growth.
Domestic consumption, which was the main engine of Bulgaria's economic growth last year, is expected to let some steam off in 2019. Private consumption is expected to increase by 7.8% in 2018 and 5.5% this year, while public consumption is seen shrinking from 3.6% in 2018 to 3.0% in 2019.
Bulgaria's unemployment rate is expected to drop from 5.3% last year to 5.0% in 2019, while salary costs are expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 and 2.8% in 2019.
Foreign debt is expected to be equivalent to 64% of GDP in 2018 and 63% this year, Euler Hermes said.