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Bulgaria to meet fiscal gap target, IMF urges restraint

SOFIA, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund praised Bulgaria's plans to keep its budget deficit at 1.3 percent of gross domestic product next year and urged the government to resist spending pressure in an election year to protect fiscal stability.

The IMF upped the Balkan country's 2012 economic growth forecast to 1.0 percent from 0.8 percent due to improved domestic demand and reaffirmed the 1.5 percent growth for 2013, IMF Mission Chief for Bulgaria Catriona Purfield told reporters.

Sofia is to unveil the 2013 budget draft later this week, but has said it will keep its deficit target flat this year, while increasing state pensions by an average of 9.3 percent as of April, betting on improved economic outlook.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Radu Marinas)

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Keywords: IMF BULGARIA/