Foreign trade deficit decreased in April

According to Statistics Estonia, in April both exports and imports of goods at current prices declined by 40% compared to April of the previous year. The foreign trade deficit decreased twice.

In April 2009 exports of goods totalled 7.7 billion kroons and imports 9.4 billion kroons, which is significantly less than in April last year. The steep decline was caused also by the high comparison data of April 2008. The trade deficit amounted to 1.7 billion kroons, which decreased by 52% compared to April of the previous year.

Steep decline in Estonia’s foreign trade in value terms has been caused by the decrease in demand in both internal as well as external markets. According to Eurostat, in the 1st quarter this year a decline of more than a quarter was announced in the trade of main partner countries (Finland, Lithuania, Sweden). Significant decline was announced in both exports and imports in all Member States. In comparison of the Member States, the decline of exports was the biggest in Finland, Malta and Sweden and the largest decrease in imports was in Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Estonia.

The main countries of exports from Estonia were Finland (18% of Estonia’s total exports), Sweden, and Russia. By value, in April the main commodities exported to Finland and Sweden were electrical machinery and to Russia — railway rolling stock. The decrease in exports of goods from Estonia was announced to all main countries of destination. Compared to April of the previous year exports declined the most to Finland and Sweden (both by about 40%).

The main countries from where goods were imported to Estonia were Finland (14% of Estonia’s total imports), Lithuania and Germany. Commodities of electrical machinery and equipment were mostly imported from Finland and Sweden and commodities of mineral products (incl. fuels) — from Lithuania. Compared to April of the previous year, the imports of goods from Germany, Finland and Sweden decreased by nearly a half.

In comparison of trade with main partner countries, the largest surplus (exports exceeded imports) was registered in the trade with Finland and Sweden and the largest deficit — with Lithuania and Germany.

In April, the biggest share in Estonia’s total exports was held by the commodities of machinery and equipment, accounting for over a fifth. Compared to April of the previous year, the exports of the commodities of all sections decreased significantly. A significant decline was in commodity sections where goods are exported from Estonia after processing (machinery and equipment; metals and products thereof and mineral products incl. fuels).

In April the biggest share of imports was held by machinery and equipment and by mineral products (incl. fuels). The share of both commodity sections accounted for about a fifth of the total Estonia’s imports. The turnover of imports of all the commodity sections declined steeply. The decrease in arrivals of machinery and equipment and also transport equipment influenced the decline of total imports the most.

Exports of goods from Estonia declined by 7% and imports to Estonia by 4% in value terms compared to March this year.

Estonia’s foreign trade, January–April, 2008–2009

Month Exports,
million kroons
million kroons
million kroons
2008 2009 Change, %   2008 2009 Change, % 2008 2009
January 10 155 7 269 -28 13 745 8 829 -36 -3 590 -1 560
February 10 679 7 794 -27 13 632 8 881 -35 -2 953 -1 087
March 10 652 8 288 -22 14 145 9 803 -31 -3 493 -1 515
April 12 338 7 678 -38 15 914 9 399 -41 -3 576 -1 721
Source: Statistics Estonia

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