Bulgaria recorded a 32.5% increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first seven months of 2023. According to the National Bank of Bulgaria, the country reached €2.05bn (Lv4bn) in FDI net inflows between January and July 2023. That is €505.4m more compared with the same period in 2022 (€1.55bn).

The biggest jump was recorded in share capital, with the bank reporting €356.5m for January to July 2023, or €270.6m more than in the first seven months of 2022 (€85.8m).

News of the positive FDI inflow comes shortly after Bulgaria’s neighbour, Romania, announced a 29% slump in FDI in the first half of 2023.

According to a report published by the National Bank of Romania on 13 September, non-residents’ direct investments in Romania reached €4.25bn ($21.13bn lei) between January and July 2023, down from the €5.99bn recorded during the same period in 2022.

The National Bank of Bulgaria said in the press release: “The largest net positive direct investment flows in the country for January to July 2023 are from the Netherlands (€556.9m), Belgium (€248.6m) and Germany (€216.1m), while the largest net negative flows are to Switzerland (€43m) and Italy (€35.8m).”

Bulgaria has struggled to keep the FDI momentum going since 2007, when the country achieved a record $13.88bn in foreign investment, according to the World Bank.

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Despite this, Bulgaria ranks ninth among countries on the FDI Performance Index, which measures inbound FDI projects as a proportion of the total population. The most active sector for inbound foreign investment in Bulgaria remains technology, media and telecommunications, followed by construction, real estate and financial services.