Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bulgaria reached €3.17bn ($3.44bn) between January and September 2023, a 48.4% increase from the €2.14bn for the same period last year.

The largest inflows came from the Netherlands (€691.6m) followed by Austria (€288.9m) and Switzerland (€246.4m), while the largest outflows of Bulgarian FDI went to Israel (€15.6m) and Russia (€15.5m).

In September alone, the country recorded a net FDI inflow of €423.4m, according to data from the Bulgarian National Bank. That was 10.3% lower than in September 2022, when the government in Sofia recorded €472.1m.

In addition, equity held in cash and contributions by non-residents in the country hit €411.3m from January to September, growing by €92.1m from €319.1m in the first nine months of last year.

News about growing FDI in the country came after neighbouring Romania had a few days earlier reported a 42% drop in FDI levels in the first nine months of 2023, reaching €5.06bn.

Bulgaria remains an attractive FDI destination for many investors, with the government in Sofia offering them incentives to open businesses in the country. The country’s economy took a blow in 2020 during the Covid pandemic but has since recovered, expanding by 3.8% in 2022. The European Commission expects Bulgaria’s GDP to continue to grow, although at a lower rate of 2.0% in 2023.

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Overall, FDI stocks stood at €57.11bn at the end of June, compared with €51.91bn in the same period last year.