During the postwar industrialization program, Bulgaria had a trade imbalance, made up largely by credits, particularly from the former USSR. From 1952 to 1958, the country had visible export surpluses, but another industrialization drive resulted in a trade imbalance during 1959–61, and there were persistent imbalances during the latter part of the 1960s. In the early 1970s, export surpluses were reported for most years; there were also small surpluses in 1979, 1980, and 1984. With the collapse of COMECON trade, Bulgaria began exporting agricultural products and light manufactured products in exchange for consumer goods. During the first nine months of 1992, Bulgaria recorded its first surplus in many years. Failure of the government to institute economic reforms, however, led to severe economic hardship and trade deficits of $1.4 billion in 1993 and $1.6 billion in 1994. In 1994, the deficit was partially financed by almost $1.1 billion in aid from other countries and international financial institutions. In 2000, the current account deficit was financed by $1 billion in foreign direct investment and additional funding from international financial institutions.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2002 the purchasing power parity of Bulgaria's exports was $5.3 billion while imports totaled $6.9 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $1.6 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 Bulgaria had exports of goods totaling $5.11 billion and imports totaling $6.7 billion. The services credit totaled $2.42 billion and debit $1.88 billion. The following table summarizes Bulgaria's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||-1,576|
|Balance on services||540|
|Balance on income||-300|
|Direct investment abroad||-10|
|Direct investment in Bulgaria||692|
|Portfolio investment assets||-120|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||105|
|Other investment assets||348|
|Other investment liabilities||-31|
|Net Errors and Omissions||289|
|Reserves and Related Items||-444|