Bulgaria’s consumer prices rose again with the annual inflation rate surging to 7.8% in December from 7.3% in the previous month, according to data from the National Statistical Institute. This is the highest inflation since December of 2008 when it was also 7.8%.
Main upward pressure came from food & non-alcoholic beverages (8.9%); housing & utilities (11.6%); and transport (22.2%). On a monthly basis, the rise in consumer prices was 0.9%, after a 1.4% gain in November.
The annual average inflation, measured by the Consumer price index (CPI) for the January – December 2021 period compared to the January – December 2020 period was 3.3%.
The harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) in December compared to November was 100.8%, while the monthly inflation was 0.8%. The annual inflation in December 2021 compared to December 2020 was 6.6%. The annual average inflation, measured by HICP, in the January 2021 – December 2021 period compared to the January 2020 – December 2020 period was 2.8%.
In terms of HICP, in December 2021, compared to the previous month, the prices of goods and services in the main consumer groups changed as follows:
Food and non-alcoholic beverages – an increase of 1.3%; Alcoholic beverages and tobacco – an increase of 0.3%; Clothing and footwear – a decrease of 0.8%; Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels – an increase of 0.8%; Furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house – an increase of 1.0%; Health – an increase of 0.1%; Transport – an increase of 1.1%; Communications – a decrease of 0.3%; Recreation and culture – an increase of 1.3%; Education – the prices remained at the level of the previous month; Restaurants and hotels – an increase of 1.8%; Miscellaneous goods and services – an increase of 0.1%.
The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) is the comparable measure of inflation across EU Member states. It is one of the criterions of price stability and readiness of Bulgaria to join the eurozone. HICP, as well as CPI, measure the total relative price change of goods and services. Both indices are calculated using the same basket of goods and services, but differ with respect to the weights used. HICP is calculated using weights, which reflect the individual and the collective consumption of all households (incl. institutional and foreign households) on the economic territory of the country. The main source of information for HICP weights is the national accounts (NA) data.
Bulgaria’s finance ministry sees inflation, fueled by a global surge in energy costs, easing to 2.5% at the end of 2022.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project inflation to average 2.9% this year, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2023, panelists project inflation to average 2.5%.