The economy of Bulgaria functions on the principles of the free market, having a large private sector and a small, but strong public sector. Bulgaria is an industrialised upper-middle-income country according to the World Bank with a gross national income per capita of US$ 6,280 in 2010. It has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, even though its income level remains the lowest within the EU with an average monthly wage of 768 leva (393 euro).
Since 2001, Bulgaria has managed to attract considerable amounts of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). During the Financial crisis of 2007–2010, Bulgaria marked a decline in its economy of 5.5% in 2009, but quickly restored its positive growth to 0.2% in 2010, in contrast to other Balkan countries.
The currency of the country is the lev (plural leva), pegged to the euro at a rate of 1.95583 leva for 1 euro. The lev is the strongest and most stable currency in Eastern Europe. The strongest sectors are energy, mining, metallurgy, machine building, agriculture and tourism. Primary industrial exports are clothing, iron and steel, machinery and refined fuels. Low productivity and competitiveness on the European and world markets alike due to inadequate R&D funding and a lack of a clearly defined development policy remain a significant obstacle for foreign investment and economic growth.
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