A mission of the International Monetary Fund will visit Bulgaria's capital Sofia during the period May 10-20, 2011 to hold regular bilateral discussions on economic policies with the Bulgarian authorities, the fund announced.
This is part of the IMF's surveillance under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement. The mission will be headed by Mrs. Catriona Purfield.
"The mission will meet with officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Bulgarian National Bank, other government agencies, as well as representatives from the private sector, including banks and industry, unions, and non-government organizations," IMF's Regional Resident Representative in Bulgaria and Romania, Tonny Lybek, said.
The mission will disseminate its conclusions at the end of the mission.
Bulgaria's economy will grow 3% in 2011, according to the biennial World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund earlier in April.
The IMF forecast for the Bulgarian economy in 2011 is below the 3.6% growth projected by the Bulgarian government in its 2011 budget.
The Fund has actually upgraded its 2011 economic growth project for Bulgaria, which used to be at 2.6%. IMF data also shows that in 2010 the Bulgarian economy grew by 0.2%.
The IMF expectations for the Bulgarian economy in 2012 are also lower than those of the Bulgarian Cabinet; the April 2011 World Economic Outlook predicts Bulgarian economic growth of 3.5%, while Bulgaria's current projection stands at 4.1% and was even higher a month ago.
Just recently, Bulgaria's Finance Ministry reduced its economic growth forecasts for 2012 and 2013 in light of the civil unrest in the Arab world and the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Japan on March 11. Thus, the Cabinet in Sofia now expects Bulgaria's economy grow by 4.1% in 2012 instead of the original figure of 4.7%; in 2013, the growth is forecast to be 4% instead of the 4.9% previously expected.
According to the IMF, Bulgaria's consumer prices grew by 3% in 2010, and will grow by 4.8% in 2011, and by 3.7% in 2012. Bulgaria's unemployment, which stood at 10.3% in 2010, will drop to 8% in 2011, and to 6.7% in 2012, the Fund projects.