LHV Bank earns 0,17 mEUR profit in Q3

Estonia’s LHV Pank earned in the third quarter of this year a profit of 2.7 million kroons (EUR 172 500) and its assets grew to 600 million kroons by the end of the period.
Net revenues increased by 16% in comparison with the third quarter of 2008, the bank said. The amount of deposits increased by 249.1 million kroons, reaching 488.8 million kroons by the end of September. Demand deposits made up 191.5 million and term deposits 297.3 million kroons of the total.
Slightly more than half, or 52%, of the deposits were in Estonian kroons, 34% were euro-denominated and the rest in other currencies.
The bank’s loan portfolio swelled by 59.1 million kroons, amounting to 95.5 million kroons by the end of the period. LHV group has close to 35 000 customers.

Source: Estonian Review

Sustainability has both positive and negative trends

According to Statistics Estonia, during the last decade Estonia experienced a fast progress towards economic welfare, but the same cannot be said in regard to social coherence, ecological balance and developments in the cultural space. Nevertheless, both negative and positive trends can be witnessed in all these spheres.

The Estonian National Strategy on Sustainable Development targets the movement of the society towards four development goals — preservation of the viability of Estonian culture, growth of welfare of the population, increased social coherence and maintaining of ecological balance.

Regarding positive trends, decrease in inequality and increase in average life expectancy can be pointed out. While in 2007 the income of the most affluent group of the society exceeded that of the poorest by five-fold, the gap was still six-fold in 2000. Increasing life expectancy as a trend is specific not only to Estonia, life expectancy is on the rise also in other countries of the European Union. In 2008, life expectancy at birth in Estonia reached 74 years, while eight years earlier it was 71. During the last decade we have also witnessed a decrease in the child poverty risk and a progress in the health indicators of the population.

The following negative trends can be pointed out. The proportion of adolescents without basic education continues to be high (14% of adolescents were without basic education in 2008, while in 2003 the respective percentage was13%) and crime among the adolescent population is on the increase (in 2008 the number of crimes committed by minors increased by 12% compared to a year earlier). Air pollution and quantities of waste as well as mining and firing of oil shale have increased again. In 2007 the volume of oil shale mining increased by 17% compared to a year earlier. In 2007, 21 million tons of waste was generated which is twice the amount generated in 2000.

The period from 2000 to 2007 saw a rapid increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while it dropped in 2008. Thus, Estonian per capita GDP, which was 45% of the European Union average in 2000, increased to 68% by 2008. Together with the increase in GDP and the accompanying increase in the welfare also the gross external debt of Estonia increased. The gross external debt exceeded the annual GDP of Estonia in 2008 and has increased by almost six-fold since 2000. On the other hand, the general government debt was small compared to other European Union countries.

A more detailed analysis will be published today, on 30 October, in the collection “Säästva arengu näitajad. Indicators of Sustainable Development”. The indicators of sustainable development in Estonia are also available on Statistics Estonia’s website under the heading “Dashboard of Sustainability” (http://www.stat.ee/dashboard). The Dashboard provides an opportunity to compare the counties and municipalities of Estonia as well as to make a comparison between Estonia and other European countries.

Statistics Estonia will introduce the referred collection and the Dashboard of Sustainability on 11 November during the forum arranged by the State Chancellery “Jätkusuutliku arengu mõõtmine — kas mõõdame õigeid asju õige mõõdupuuga?” (“Sustainable development monitoring — are we measuring the right processes against the right scales?”) (www.seit.ee/foorum2009).

Source: Statistics Estonia

Decrease in sales of manufactured goods affected most the retail sales

According to Statistics Estonia, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises decreased in September 2009 compared to August this year as well as compared to September of the previous year. The decrease in retail sales was most influenced by stores selling manufactured goods, where the decrease in sales slightly accelerated compared to the previous months.

In September, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 4.3 billion kroons, which was 17% smaller at constant prices compared to September of the previous year. The decrease in retail sales of goods was most influenced by the stores selling manufactured goods, which gave over a third of the total retail sales of goods. If in July and August the retail sales in stores selling manufactured goods decreased 25% during the year, then in September the decrease was 28%. The retail sales in other specialized stores, such as stores selling computers and their accessories, photography supplies, books, sports equipment, games and toys, etc., decreased the most or 38%. The retail sales in stores selling textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods decreased by about one third during the year, which was the greatest decrease in 2009 as compared to the previous year. The decrease in stores selling household goods and appliances, hardware and building materials slowed down to some extent. The retail sales of these stores decreased 23% compared to September of the previous year. The retail sales in grocery stores have been rather stable during the recent months. In these stores, the retail sales decreased 9% compared to September of the previous year.

Compared to the previous month, the retail sales of goods in retail trade enterprises decreased 2% at constant prices according to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data. During the last three months compared to the previous month, the decline in retail sales has stayed stable around 2%.

In September the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were 5.2 billion kroons, out of which retail sales of goods accounted for about 85%. Compared to September of the previous year, the revenues from sales decreased 23% at current prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator decreased 7%.

Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend,
January 2002 – September 2009
(corresponding month of previous year =100)

Diagram:"Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend, January 2002 – September 2009 "

Source: Statistics Estonia

Stable decrease in industrial production

According to Statistics Estonia, in September 2009 compared to September of the previous year, the production of industrial enterprises decreased 30%. Since February the decrease in production has been within the limits of 30% compared to the same month of the previous year.

During last months, the situation in manufacturing did not change — the production fell 30% in September compared to the same month of the previous year. The main reason causing the decline was continually insufficient demand both on domestic and external markets.

The production decreased in all branches of manufacturing except the manufacture of beverages and the manufacture of pharmaceutical products. The decrease in the manufacturing of food products (8%) was one of the smallest. The decline in the production of food was retarded by the decrease of producer prices. Since the beginning of the year, the producer prices of milk, flour and oil have decreased significantly. The growth in production of distilled spirits compared to the same month of the previous year was caused by low comparison basis due to the growth of excise tax in July 2008. Compared to September of the previous year, the manufacture of wearing apparel, chemical products, metal and metal products, electronic products and machinery and equipment fell more than 40%. The manufacture of paper, furniture and building materials and repair of machinery and equipment decreased more than 30%.

In September compared to September of the previous year, the production of electricity decreased 36%, the production of heat decreased 38%. The decrease in electricity production was caused by partly replacement of own production with imports from Lithuania. The sale of heat was affected by higher outdoor temperature and latter beginning of the heating season accrued from this.

In September compared to August, industrial production total as well as in manufacturing fell 2% according to the seasonally adjusted data. From January to April, the decrease in industrial production remained within 4% compared to the previous month, since May the differences compared to the previous month were from -2% to 2%.

The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing,
January 2000 – September 2009 (2005 = 100)

Diagram:"The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – September 2009 (2005 = 100)"

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Netherlands will represent Estonia for issuing visas in Jordan

The government approved an agreement by which the Kingdom of the Netherlands will begin to represent Estonia in visa matters in Amman in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The agreement will come into force on 1 November.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that the ministry works continually to find new opportunities for issuing Schengen visas for travel to Estonia in areas where Estonia does not yet have its own representation. “We would like for Estonia to be represented as much as possible all over the world. People visiting Estonia with a visa use our tourism and other services, thereby making a contribution to the development of Estonia’s economy,” said Paet. “On the basis of this agreement concluded with the Netherlands, in the future citizens of Jordan can apply for a visa to travel to Estonia at the Dutch representation in Amman,” he added.
When applying for a visa, it is generally required to present an application in person at the representation. In order to do this, applicants must frequently travel from their country of residence to a third country, which is expensive for people and also frequently requires applying for a visa to the third country.
The Netherlands already represents Estonia in Kenya and Nigeria, and when the new agreement comes into effect it will also represent Estonia in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Estonia represents the Netherlands in Pskov. Estonia has concluded representation agreements for the issuing of Schengen visas with Austria, Spain, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Finland, Slovenia and Hungary. As of 1 November, these countries will be representing Estonia in 58 nations.
Consular matters that are important to Estonia and issues related to the development of the foreign service are regularly discussed within the framework of various meetings. Negotiations for representation agreement are currently going on with several Schengen member states.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonian, Spanish ministers speak about EU IT Agency

Estonian Interior Minister Marko Pomerants, in a meeting with his Spanish colleague Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, spoke about the priorities for the Spanish presidency of the European Union and the future of the IT agency for justice and interior affairs.
The two ministers met in Luxembourg on the sidelines of a session of the EU justice and interior affairs council. At the meeting, the Spanish minister outlined Spain’s priorities in the sphere of interior security for the period of the country’s EU presidency, spokespeople for the Interior Ministry in Tallinn said on Friday.
Pomerants said that Estonia’s interests overlap with the vision of the future president in many areas. The Spanish minister shared Estonia’s positions regarding cyber security and closer EU-US relations.
“It is good to know that Spain, as the future president, supports the creation of a separate agency,” said Pomerants.
In the meeting of the interior affairs council, the EU ministers discussed matters related to the development of the Schengen information system and the European visa information system. The launch of the visa information system that should have been put to work in May this year has been postponed until 2010. The completion of the second generation Schengen information system is delayed by more than five years.
“The delay with these systems is a telling indicator of how necessary the launch of an IT agency and more effective co-ordination of development activities are,” Pomerants said.

Source: Estonian Review

In August the trade balance was positive with main countries of destination

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2009 Estonian trade deficit was 1.6 billion kroons. At the same time the trade balance with the five biggest countries of destination was positive (exports exceeded imports).

In August 2009, exports of goods from Estonia totalled 7.7 billion kroons and imports to Estonia 9.3 billion kroons. Both exports and imports declined by 31% compared to the same period of the previous year. The trade balance was positive with such main countries of destination as Finland, Russia, Latvia, Sweden and USA. The biggest trade deficit was announced in the trade with Lithuania (0.8 billion kroons) and Germany (0.4 billion kroons).

In August, the main countries of destination of exports from Estonia were Finland (18% of the total exports), Russia (11%), Latvia (11%) and Sweden (10%). Compared to August of the previous year, the decrease was announced to all the main countries of destination. The biggest decrease in exports was announced in exports to Finland (0.7 billion kroons) and Sweden (0.6 billion kroons).

The main countries from where goods were imported to Estonia in August were Finland and Lithuania (both 16% of the total imports). Compared to August of the previous year, imports of goods from Germany declined the most (1.2 billion kroons), also from Finland and Latvia. Imports from Lithuania and Poland increased.

In August, petroleum products (incl. fuels) and machinery and equipment held the biggest share in Estonia’s total exports with the share of about 16% both. They were followed by metals and products thereof and agricultural products and food preparations. Compared to August of the previous year exports declined in all commodity sections, but the dispatches of machinery and equipment and metals and products thereof declined the most (1 billion kroons both).

In imports, among the commodity sections, the biggest share was held by petroleum products (a quarter of Estonia’s total imports), machinery and equipment and agricultural products and food preparations. Compared to August of 2008 the biggest decrease was announced in the section of machinery and equipment (1.2 billion kroons) and metals and products thereof (1 billion kroons). Only the arrivals of petroleum products increased.

Compared to July 2009, exports of goods from Estonia decreased 7% and imports to Estonia 3%. The decline in exports was mainly caused by the decrease in the exports of machinery and equipment and petroleum products.

The decrease in exports and imports is characteristic of all the EU countries in January–July 2009. The average decline rate in EU countries was 20% in exports and 25% in imports compared to the same period of 2008.

Estonia’s foreign trade, January–August, 2008–2009
Month Exports, million kroons Imports, million kroons Balance, million kroons
2008 2009 change, %   2008 2009 change, % 2008 2009
January 10 154 7 256 -29 13 725 8 835 -36 -3 571 -1 579
February 10 677 7 779 -27 13 641 8 852 -35 -2 964 -1 073
March 10 647 8 274 -22 14 145 9 803 -31 -3 498 -1 529
April 12 332 7 672 -38 15 916 9 326 -41 -3 584 -1 654
May 11 549 8 091 -30 14 507 8 511 -41 -2 958 -420
June 10 862 9 519 -12 14 140 9 929 -30 -3 278 -410
July 10 969 8 297 -24 15 047 9 566 -36 -4 078 -1 269
August 11 142 7 723 -31 13 420 9 300 -31 -2 278 -1 577

Estonia to promote itself as travel destination in St. Petersburg

Enterprise Estonia (EAS) will launch a publicity campaign in St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday to promote itself as a destination for winter holiday travel.
The main Estonian destinations featured in the four-million-kroon (EUR 0.26 mln) campaign are Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. “Tallinn is a popular venue for spending the New Year Holiday for Russians, but at the start of the season you need new reminders. We’ll also present the opportunities offered by our smaller cities: spas, concerts and places to eat, in order to help develop local tourism,” said Tarmo Mutso, director of the tourism development centre at EAS.
Russia is a rapidly growing tourism market for Estonia. During 2008 about 82 000 Russian tourists stayed at accommodation facilities in Estonia, spending on the average 2.5 days here, or more than tourists from any other foreign country.
Year-on-year, the number of Russian tourists increased 46% in 2008. In the first half of this year the growth continued, but at a lower rate.
The campaign will run from 26 October to 30 November.

Source: Estonian Review

IMF: Estonian financial sector is stable and strong

The Estonian financial sector is stable and strong, the head of the visiting IMF delegation Christoph B. Rosenberg said in a meeting with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Wednesday.
The meeting focused on Estonia’s responsible budgetary policy and its continuation, which is a key to recovering from the crisis and achieving the goal of joining the euro zone, the president’s office said.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia’s government debt the lowest in EU

According to Eurostat, Estonia had the lowest ratio of government debt to GDP in 2008 at 4.6%. Estonia was followed by Luxembourg (13.5%), Romania (13.6%), Bulgaria (14.1%), and Lithuania (15.6%).

In 2008 the largest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded by Greece (-7.7%), Ireland (-7.2%), Romania (-5.5%), the United Kingdom (-5.0%), Malta (-4.7%), Spain (-4.1%), Latvia (-4.1%), Hungary (-3.8%), Poland (-3.6%), France (-3.4%) and Lithuania (-3.2%).

Read more: BBN