Fall in General Government’s debt level lasts

According to preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, the Estonian general government sector surplus in 2007 was 2.8% and consolidated gross debt level was 3.4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As in previous years, the general government gross debt level continued to fall last year.

In 2007, the total revenues of the general government sector consolidated budget exceeded the expenditures by 6.9 billion kroons. The central government sector surplus was 2.5% of GDP and the surplus of social security funds was 0.6% of GDP. Reached surplus in 2006, the local governments sector’s consolidated budgets fell in deficit again: -0.3% of GDP.

The general government gross debt level in 2007 decreased compared to the last two years. At the same time the central government’s debt level decreased 10% compared to 2006, the borrowing of the local governments sector increased by 9%, accounting for 69% of the gross debt.

After the consultations with Eurostat Statistics Estonia decided to reclassify to the general government sector several public limited companies and foundations whose economic activity by the rules of national accounts do not meet the conditions of the market producer.

The impact of the reclassification decisions are already accounted in the calculations of the general government deficits and debt levels. By the preliminary estimations entering the public limited companies and foundations to the list of government units impacts the balance-accounting as follows:

  2004 2005 2006 2007
Surplus, % of GDP 1.6 1.8 3.4 2.8
Impact of reclassifications to the surplus -0.2 -0.1 -0.2 -0.4
Debt level, % of GDP 5.1 4.5 4.2 3.4
Impact of reclassifications to the debt level 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.5

Revised data for 2007 will be published on 30 September.

General Government Sector comprises, in addition to State and Local Government institutional units, the State and Local Governments extra-budgetary funds and foundations, public-legal institutions and non-market producing public enterprises. The General Government sector consolidated budget represents in addition to the balance of revenues and expenditures of the State and Local Governments own budgets also the balance of revenues and expenditures of the State and Local Governments extra-budgetary funds and foundations, public-legal institutions and non-market producing public enterprises budgets.

Source: Statistics Office

In February the retail sales slightly increased

According to Statistics Estonia, in February 2008 compared to February of the previous year the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises grew 4% in constant prices. The growth of retail sales that had stopped in January showed a slight increase in February.

In February, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 4.2 billion kroons, which is a half billion kroons more than at the same time a year ago. If in January 2008 compared to January of the previous year the growth of retail sales of goods decreased to zero, then in February the annual growth of retail sales in constant prices was as big as in December 2007.

The growth rate in grocery stores was slightly higher in February than in the previous months, the increase was 4% during the year. Due to the large share, grocery stores covered over 65% of the total increase in the sales of the retail trade enterprises. Retail sales of pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics increased 9%, retail sales in non-specialized stores selling industrial goods and stores selling textiles, clothing and footwear increased 7% compared to February of the previous year. The growth of retail sales of non-specialized stores selling industrial goods and stores selling textiles, clothing and footwear was due to the special sales campaign.

Compared to January, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises stayed at the same level, but according to seasonally adjusted data the retail sales increased 3%.

In February the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were about 5 billion kroons, of which retail sales of goods accounted for 85%. Compared to February 2007, the revenues from sales increased 14% in current prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator increased 1%.

Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend,
January 2000 – February 2008 (corresponding month of previous year = 100)


Source: Statistics Office

Gap between salaries too big

Analyst Kulno Türk believes that the current system where the highest-earning executive of a state enterprise makes 140,000 kroons a month and the Prime Minister earns 70,000 kroons is illogical.

Türk told Postimees that the gap between top executives of state enterprises and top politicians should be lower. For instance, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is making 86,000 kroons a month.

Source: BBN

In January the foreign trade deficit decreased

According to Statistics Estonia, in January 2008 the exports of goods increased and the imports decreased. The trade deficit was the lowest during the last 12 months.

In January 2008 the exports was 10.1 billion kroons and the imports was 13.2 billion kroons. Compared to January of the previous year, the value of exports rose 4% and imports fell 4%. The trade deficit was 3.1 billion kroons. Compared to January 2007, the trade deficit decreased by about a billion kroons and was the smallest during the last 12 months.

In January 2008 the share of the EU countries was 75% and the share of CIS countries accounted for 10% of the total exports. The most important partners in exports were Finland, Sweden and Latvia, accounting for 46% of the total exports. Exports to the EU countries increased 1.1 billion kroons compared to January 2007.

In total imports the share of the EU countries was 79% and that of CIS countries 12%. The most important partners in imports were Finland, Germany and Sweden, accounting for 38% of the total imports. Imports from the EU countries increased 272 million kroons compared to January 2007.

The foreign trade deficit with the EU countries decreased from 3.8 billion kroons to 3 billion kroons compared to January of the previous year. Compared to January 2007, the trade deficit with the CIS countries has dropped from 1.5 billion kroons to 0.6 billion kroons. The biggest trade surplus was mentioned with Norway (247 million kroons) and Sweden (98 million kroons). The biggest trade deficit was announced with Germany (1.0 billion kroons), Russia (484 million kroons) and Lithuania (282 million kroons).

In both exports and imports the most important commodity section was machinery and equipment (the share 20% of exports and 21% of imports). Compared to January 2007, the greatest increase in exports was in the metals and products thereof (62%), transport equipment (20%) and agricultural products and food preparations (19%). The exports of mineral products decreased significantly (42%). The imports increased in the sections of raw materials and products of chemical industry (12%) and agricultural products and food preparations (10%). Among other commodity sections the imports decreased. The biggest decline in imports was in the section of wood and products thereof (18%) and paper and articles thereof (18%).

The surplus in the trade balance was mentioned as positive (active trade balance) in the sections of wood and products thereof (694 million kroons) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (520 million kroons). The biggest foreign trade deficit was mentioned in the section of mineral products (1.2 billion kroons), transport equipment (849 million kroons) and machinery and equipment (778 million kroons).

Estonia’s foreign trade, 2007–2008 (million kroons)

Year Month Exports Imports Balance
2007 January 9 682 13 820 -4 138
  February 9 759 13 198 -3 439
  March 10 434 15 387 -4 953
  April 10 406 15 495 -5 089
  May 11 704 16 026 -4 322
  June 10 747 14 963 -4 216
  July 9 876 13 940 -4 064
  August 10 256 14 464 -4 208
  September 9 800 14 429 -4 629
  October 11 792 15 967 -4 175
  November 11 857 15 654 -3 797
  December 9 241 13 325 -4 084
2008 January 10 053 13 207 -3 154

Main foreign trade partners of Estonia, January 2008

Country of destination, group of countries Exports,
mln kroons
Share, % Country of consignment,
group of countries
Imports,
mln kroons
Share, %
TOTAL 10 053 100 TOTAL 13 207 100
EU 27 7 495 75 EU 27 10 462 79
CIS 1 012 10 CIS 1 642 12
1. Finland 1 888 19 1. Finland 2 017 15
2. Sweden 1 594 16 2. Germany 1 562 12
3. Latvia 1 095 11 3. Sweden 1 496 11
4. Russia 763 8 4. Russia 1 247 9
5. Lithuania 650 7 5. Latvia 1 213 9
6. Germany 524 5 6. Lithuania 932 7
7. Norway 340 3 7. Poland 597 5
8. Denmark 323 3 8. United Kingdom 469 4
9. Netherlands 296 3 9. Netherlands 443 3
10. United Kingdom 281 3 10. China 307 2

Exports and imports by commodity sections, January 2008

Commodity section by Combined Nomenclature (CN) Exports Imports Balance,
mln kroons
mln
kroons
share, % change
compared
to same
month of
previous
year, %
mln
kroons
share, % change
compared
to same
month of
previous
year, %
TOTAL 10 053 100 4 13 207 100 -4 -3 154
Agricultural products and food preparations (I–IV) 839 8 19 1 265 10 10 -426
Mineral products (V) 1 053 10 -42 2 214 17 -10 -1 161
Raw materials and products of chemical industry (VI) 406 4 13 1 015 8 12 -609
Articles of plastics and rubber (VII) 328 3 16 626 5 -1 -298
Wood and products thereof (IX) 1 039 10 11 345 3 -18 694
Paper and articles thereof (X) 339 3 9 271 2 -18 68
Textiles and products thereof (XI) 500 5 2 728 6 6 -228
Metals and products thereof (XV) 1 186 12 62 1 212 9 -11 -26
Machinery and equipment (XVI) 2 011 20 -2 2 789 21 -2 -778
Transport equipment (XVII) 920 9 20 1 769 13 -1 -849
Miscellaneous manufactured articles (XX) 846 8 9 326 2 -2 520
Other 586 6 27 647 5 -28 -61

Source: Statistics Office

Volume of Estonian Security Market Over 2 Billion in 2007

The aggregate volume of the security services market in Estonia amounted to 2.1 billion kroons in 2007.

The turnover of guarding services accounted for 0.9 billion kroons of the total. Installation and maintenance of security equipment contributed 0.6 billion kroons, the industry body said.

The turnover from other security services, including transportation of money and valuables, consultations, express delivery services and public services, totalled 340 million kroons.

The year-on-year growth in the sale of security services and products was 26 percent, which has been relatively stable in the last few years. In guarding services a growth of 16.5 percent and in equipment installation and maintenance 33.3 percent were recorded.
There are around 6,000 security workers in Estonia at present. Last year 1,026 new jobs were created. The average salary in the sphere of security increased by 27.5 percent in 2007.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonian Investment Bank Gild Bankers Triples Profit in 2007

The investment bank Gild Bankers made a net profit of around 81 million kroons last year, more than tripling the 2006 result.

Consolidated net income from service fees amounted to 134 million kroons, compared to 60 million kroons a year ago, a representative of the bank said.

Last year was the most successful in the company’s history, senior partner Rain Tamm said. “Among other things, the year 2007 marks the expansion of Gild’s international reach. In addition to opening offices in Sofia and London, we increased the share of fund investments outside the Baltic region,” he said.

Last year Gild also laid the foundation of private banking, a new business line, and acted as consultant in almost twice as many consolidations and takeovers as in 2006. Gild’s assets in funds surged by almost 30 percent to 2.2 billion kroons in 2007.

Gild Bankers is an independent investment bank with offices in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. Gild manages alternative funds, advises mergers and takeovers, attracts capital and provides private banking services.

Source: Estonian Review

Transport of goods by rail decreased considerably

According to the preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, in 2007 the usage of services of passenger transport enterprises remained on the same level compared to 2006. The carriage of goods by road transport enterprises increased and by rail decreased compared to the previous year.

In 2007, the number of passengers carried by Estonian transport enterprises was around 213 million. 97% of passengers were carried in domestic traffic as in previous years.

The number of passengers in domestic traffic was 207 million. 93% of them used road transport (incl. city transport by buses, trams and trolley buses). The number of road transport passengers in domestic traffic was about the same as in 2006. The number of passengers in domestic traffic by sea and by rail increased by 15% and by 3%, respectively. Air transport was used 15% less on domestic flights compared to 2006.

The amount of passengers in international traffic was 6 million, as much as in 2006. The carriage of passengers in international traffic was most influenced by sea and air transport. Over 4 million passengers (6% more than a year earlier) used the services of sea transport enterprises, over 1 million passengers (22% less than in the previous year) used the services of air transport. Around 1 million passengers used road transport in international traffic, where the increase was the biggest (9%). 150,000 passengers used rail transport in international passenger traffic, about 5% more than a year ago.

The volume of goods is best characterised by freight turnover in tonne-kilometres. In 2007, the volume of goods carried by Estonian transport enterprises was 20.4 billion tonne-kilometres or 1% less than a year ago. 10.6 billion tonne-kilometres of goods were carried by road and 8.4 billion by rail transport enterprises. Sea transport accounted for 1.4 billion tonne-kilometres. In road transport the freight turnover increased by a fifth, but in rail transport decreased by a fifth compared to 2006.

In domestic traffic the freight turnover was 3.3 billion tonne-kilometres, increasing by about a fourth compared to the previous year. Road traffic accounted for three fourths of domestic traffic.

The freight turnover of international traffic was 17.1 billion tonne-kilometres or 84% of the total freight turnover. The freight turnover of international traffic decreased 4% compared to the previous year. The freight turnover of international traffic was mainly influenced by road and rail transport where the freight turnover increased 20% and decreased 22%, respectively, compared to the previous year.

Source: Statistics Office

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