Industrial production increased in March

According to Statistics Estonia, in March 2010 the production of industrial enterprises rose 12% compared to March of the previous year.

In March 2010 the production in manufacturing increased 11% compared to March of the previous year. When in total of 2009 compared to the previous year, the production decreased in all branches of manufacturing, then in January 2010 some branches showed recovery marks. In February and March a considerable growth could be observed in more than half of branches. When in March the export sales in manufacturing increased 23%, then the domestic sales fell 6% compared to March of the previous year. The rapid increase in production was partly affected by the low reference base in 2009, while at the beginning of 2009 the production was the lowest. In March 2010, among the branches holding bigger share, the production increased in manufacturing of electronic products (89%) and in manufacturing of wood (21%). The production increased considerably also in some smaller branches, as the manufacturing of motor vehicles, metals, refined petroleum, chemical and plastic products and building materials, mainly due to the increase of exports. The production of wearing apparel and leather decreased more than a fifth. Less than 10% was the decrease in manufacture of paper, metal products, machinery and equipment and in repair and installation of machinery and equipment. The main reason causing the decline was insufficient domestic demand.

In March 2010 compared to February, the seasonally adjusted industrial production increased 4%, the production of manufacturing rose 3%.

In March 2010 compared to March 2009, the production of electricity increased 31%, the production of heat — 5%. The increase in energy production was caused mostly by the increase in exports, as well as by a rising demand for energy induced from active manufacturing.

The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – March 2010 (2005 = 100)

Diagram: The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – March 2010 (2005 = 100)

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Retail sales remained in decline

According to Statistics Estonia, in March 2010 compared to March of the previous year the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises decreased 9% at constant prices. Since the beginning of the year the decrease in retail sales has been relatively stable compared to the same month of the previous year.

In January the retail sales of goods decreased 11% and in February 10% compared to the same month a year ago. In March, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 4.3 billion kroons. Compared to March 2009, the retail sales of goods increased in three economic activities: the retail sales of food, beverages and tobacco in specialized stores (44%), the retail sales of second-hand goods in stores (11%) and in stores selling pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics (5%). The very low reference base in 2009 contributed to the sales growth of the retail sales of foods, beverages and tobacco in specialized stores. The sales increase in these stores does not significantly influence the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises, because the share of this economic activity is very small, 2% in March 2010. The decrease in retail sales of goods was most influenced by the stores selling manufactured goods, where the retail sales decreased by 15% compared to March 2009. The retail sales of stores selling household goods and appliances, hardware and building materials decreased most or 27%. The decrease in non-specialized stores with industrial goods predominating and in stores selling textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods slowed down more compared to the previous months. In these stores the retail sales of goods decreased 8% during the year, which was one of the smallest decreases over the last one and a half year.

In March, the decrease in grocery stores also slowed down to some extent. If in January and February the retail sales in these stores decreased 6% compared to the same month of the previous year, then in March the decrease was 4%.

Compared to the previous month, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises increased by 13% in constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data the retail sales decreased by 1%.

In March the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were 5.3 billion kroons, out of which retail sales of goods accounted for 82%. Compared to March of the previous year, the revenues from sale decreased by 3% at current prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator increased 14%.

Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend, January 2002 – March 2010 (2005 =100)

Diagram: Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend, January 2002 – March 2010 (2005 =100)

Source: Statisics Estonia

9 000 Estonians live in Australia

During his meeting early this morning in Tallinn with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that the fifth largest community of Estonians lives in Australia (after Canada, Sweden, the United States, and Finland). “In recent years a considerable number of young Estonians have worked in Australia on work or vacation visas. There are nearly 9 000 Estonians in Australia,” said Paet. “To help our citizens living in Australia and to resolve issues related to social security and health insurance, we will continue active negotiations with Australia for concluding a bilateral social security agreement,” stated Paet.
Paet also told his Australian colleague about Estonia’s desire to intensify communication between Australian and Estonian entrepreneurs. “Estonia’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the euro zone will certainly make investing in Estonia more attractive,” noted Paet.
Both Estonia and Australia contribute to military activity and reconstruction work in Afghanistan. Paet stressed that Australia is the biggest non-NATO contributor to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. “The exchange of information and co-operation with Australia in the southern part of Afghanistan are valuable to Estonia,” said Paet. “Estonia works in Helmand Province, and Australia is also there in addition to Oruzgan Province and Kandahar,” Paet remarked.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia 12th most innovative among EU27

According to the newly published final report of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), Estonia has risen to 12th place for its innovation in 2009.

With this ranking, Estonia is positioned along with Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia in the innovation followers group, which is only one step down from the innovation leaders group.

In first place on the Innovation Scoreboard for 2009 is Sweden, followed by Finland and Germany. Great Britain and Denmark also belong to the leader group. Estonia is trailed in the scoreboard by the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Latvia is in the second-to-last position on the scoreboard.

Estonia’s success has been supported primarily by the increased readiness of companies to invest and the increase in utilizing innovation. While on the 2008 scoreboard Estonia was still below the EU average with its innovation indicators, according to this year’s indicators Estonia has surpassed the average.

“This is an outstanding outcome, because in the 2007 final report it was predicted that it would take 10 years for Estonia to reach the middle group,” said press spokesperson for the Ministry of Economics and Communications Piret Järvis.

In compiling the EIS, indicators regarding educated and skilled human resources are observed and compared among nations. The state’s activeness in supporting innovation and other opportunities for innovation are observed, as are the readiness of companies to invest in innovation and the readiness of businesses to co-operate in the name of innovation amongst themselves and with the public sector. A score is also given regarding intellectual property.

The number of companies that have brought innovative products or introduced something innovative within the company is also observed. A score is also given for how much innovation has affected economic development, for example in creating jobs or influencing export.

The European Innovation Scoreboard has been compiled since 2001. The scoreboard observes the innovation indicators of all 27 European Union member states.


Estonia opened a consulate in Shanghai

During the opening of the Estonian Consulate in Shanghai, China, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that this step would help to advance Estonia-China economic relations and co-operation and make consular aid more accessible. The Estonian consul in Shanghai is Andre Lipand.

Paet stated that with the opening of the consulate in Shanghai, the Foreign Ministry would like to help develop the contacts of Estonian entrepreneurs in China and other Asian nations and introduce Estonia on a broader scale. “Estonian entrepreneurs are interested in China and we wish to utilise to the fullest extent the opportunity to introduce Estonia. Finding information is essential to advancing business contacts, and our representations in China can provide help with this,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

“The Estonian Consulate will help contribute to developing economic relations during the World Exposition of the Shanghai Expo and afterwards as well,” asserted Foreign Minister Paet. China is one of the most important economic forces in the world, and its predicted economic growth for 2010 is more than 9%. The European Union is the biggest market for Chinese goods.

Paet stated that the opening of the consulate will make consular services and aid more accessible to people living and travelling in that region.

The expenses involved in opening and running the consular representation will be covered in co-operation with Enterprise Estonia. An Enterprise Estonia representative will work in the same space.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Electricity comes from Finland via undersea cable

After the launch of the Estonian electricity exchange at the beginning of April, deals were transacted for the first time last week that sent electricity moving from Finland to Estonia via the Estlink submerged power cable on the bottom of the Gulf of Finland.
“By way of exception, the bottom line for the Estlink price area had been laid by electricity providers of the Helsinki area when on Sunday night the price in both the Helsinki and Estlink price areas was 20 euros per megawatt-hour during two hours and electricity was physically supplied from Finland to Estonia,” Margus Vals, director for energy trade at the Estonian state owned power utility Eesti Energia, said.
In the Estlink price area (Estonian electricity exchange) the price remained the same from 2 a.m. till 9 a.m. Sunday. In all 40.2 megawatt-hours of electricity was imported to Estonia from Finland. During the week, 30.9 gigawatt-hours of electricity was bought and 71.8 gigawatt-hours sold in the Estlink price area. Export to Finland declined by 1.3 gigawatt-hours to 41.0 gigawatt-hours.
The price of electricity on the exchange for the Estonian market area dropped on the average 7.3% last week to 34.24 euros per megawatt-hour. On nearby markets the decline was smaller, being 3.3% in both the Helsinki area and in Lithuania.

Source: Estonian Review

RMK plants 10 million trees this spring

The state forest management company RMK has started the spring planting of trees in the course of which it plans to put more than 10 million tree plants in the ground all over Estonia.
In all, 6 500 hectares of state forest will be rejuvenated, with young trees to be planted on 4 500 hectares, seeds sown on 1 500 hectares, and 500 hectares prepared for natural rejuvenation.
Tavo Uuetalu, board member of RMK, said that the planting of young trees was already underway in some places of Estonia, whereas in others more time was needed for the ground to dry up enough after the melting of snow. “By the end of May 5.8 million spruces, 3.6 million pines, 670 000 birches and a few oak groves should have been put in the ground,” Uuetalu said.
Uuetalu added that residents in rural areas have displayed great interest in signing up for the work this year, therefore no public campaign is needed. RMK manages 38% of Estonia’s forests.

Source: Estonian Review