Ryanair announces first Estonian routes

Ryanair, the world’s favourite airline, today (30th Sept) announced its first Estonian flights from Tallinn, the capital city, with seven routes to Dublin, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Edinburgh, London (Luton), Milan (Bergamo), Oslo (Rygge) and Stockholm (Skavsta) from December 2010, which will see Ryanair carry 300,000 passengers p.a. through Tallinn, creating and sustaining 300 local jobs.
Ryanair celebrated its first Estonian routes by releasing 1 million €7seats for travel on over 500 routes across its European network in late October and November which are available for booking on http://www.ryanair.com/ until midnight tonight (30th Sept). Ryanair’s seven new Tallinn routes go on sale tomorrow (1st Oct) on Ryanair.com.
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:
“Ryanair is pleased to announce our first seven Estonian routes which will commence in December and offer Tallinn passengers really low fares for the first time. Ryanair’s Tallinn routes will deliver 300,000 passengers p.a. and sustain 300 local jobs. Estonian consumers/visitors can now beat the recession and escape the high fares charged by Estonian Air and Air Baltic by choosing Ryanair’s lowest fares and our no fuel surcharge guarantee.
“To celebrate the opening of our first Estonian routes we are releasing 1 million €7 seats for travel in late October and November on 500 routes which are available for booking today on www.ryanair.com.  Ryanair’s new routes from Tallinn start from December.”
14th Dec
Dusseldorf Weeze
13th Dec
10th Jan
London (Luton)
10th Jan
Milan Bergamo
16th Dec
Oslo (Rygge)
13th Dec
Stockholm (Skavsta)
13th Dec
Source: Ryanair

Tallinn, Estonia: a cultural guide

While some cities are best enjoyed on hot summer days – Siena, say, or Carcassonne – others come into their own in the cold. Tallinn, the diminutive capital of Estonia, begs to be explored when there’s a nip in the air or, even better, when its narrow medieval buildings and cobbled streets are shrouded under a blanket of snow. Ancient merchants’ houses and cellars, home now to candle-lit and fire-warmed cafés and restaurants, lure visitors indoors to indulge in hot chocolate, spiced wine and hearty borsch. Better still, the cruise ships that ply the Baltic set sail for warmer climes come autumn, no longer disgorging their passengers into Tallinn’s bijou Old Town.

Read more from telegraph.co.uk

The decrease in retail sales has stabilized

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2010 compared to August of the previous year the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises decreased 1% at constant prices.

During the two last summer months the decrease in retail sales stabilized. If in June the retail sales decreased 6% compared to the same month of the previous year, then in July and August the decline was 1%.

In August, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 4.8 billion kroons (309 million euros). The decrease in stores selling manufactured goods slowed down compared to the previous months, the decrease was 1% compared to August 2009. Retail sales have significantly recovered in stores selling household goods and appliances, hardware and building materials. In these stores the retail sales of goods decreased 8% during the year, which was one of the smallest decreases over the last two years. Compared to August of the previous year, the retail sales of goods increased in the retail sales in non-specialized stores with industrial goods predominating (18%), the retail sales of pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics (9%), the retail sales in stores selling textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods (7%) and the retail sales of second-hand goods in stores (7%).

The retail sales in grocery stores, which recovered remarkably in July, slowed down slightly in August. If in July the retail sales of these stores increased 1%, then in August the retail sales of these stores stayed at the same level compared to the same month a year ago.

Compared to the previous month, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises decreased by 3% at constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data the retail sales decreased by 1%.

In August the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were about 6 billion kroons (383 million euros), out of which retail sales of goods accounted for 81%. Compared to August of the previous year, the revenues from sales increased 6% at current prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator decreased 2%.

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

Diagram: Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend

Source: Statistics Estonia

External demand serves as the growth engine of industrial production

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2010 the production of industrial enterprises grew 23% compared to August of the previous year. This year the growth of production has mainly influenced by the increase in external demand, since domestic market has slightly livened up only during the last months.

The moderate growth reported at the beginning of 2010 was followed by a rapid increase — in April enterprises gave 19%, in May 17% and in June and July over 20% more production than in the corresponding months of 2009.

The production of manufacturing increased 22% compared to August of the previous year. Export sales of the manufacturing production increased significantly (41%). In August, nearly two thirds of the whole production of manufacturing was sold on the external market. The demand on the domestic market was considerably lower — the domestic sales increased 3% compared to August of the previous year.

In August, production exceeded the previous year’s level in most branches of industry. The growth in the production of manufacturing was most influenced by the branches holding bigger shares — manufacturing of electronic products where the production increased by more than two times, and manufacturing of wood where the growth was 33%. With respect to the branches of manufacturing holding smaller shares, the production increased considerably in the manufacturing of motor vehicles, machinery and equipment and metals mainly due to the increase in exports. The rapid growth in production was partly also influenced by the low reference base in 2009; this effect will last until the end of 2010. Regardless of the rapid increase, the industrial production just reached the level of 2005.

In August 2010 compared to July, the seasonally adjusted industrial production did not change; the production of manufacturing grew 1%.

In August 2010 compared to August 2009, the production of electricity increased 53% and the production of heat 8%. The increase in energy production was mainly caused by a growing demand for energy induced by more active manufacturing as well as by the growth in the exports of electricity.

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

 Diagram: The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Economic policy statement of Eesti Pank

Commodity price rise has no permanent effect on inflation

The Estonian economy has exited recession and started growing, mainly on the back of exports. Estonia’s economic recovery has been supported by our trading partners’ faster-than-anticipated growth in the first half of the year. However, the latter is likely to be short-lived, since the temporary post-crisis normalisation in the world trade situation is nearing its end and government expenditures are increasing. The aftermath of the crisis is exerting a strong pressure on growth outlooks in several countries, because global economic recovery largely depends on the ability of advanced economies to regain control over their general government budget and debt level. The external environment’s inflation is expected to remain subdued over the forecast horizon, although various raw materials have gone up in price and markets do not expect them to return to lower levels.

Estonia’s companies and the government have displayed considerable aptitude in increasing efficiency. Post-slump adjustments have laid the foundation for productivity-based growth, so productivity per employee is likely to reach a historical high in 2012. The volume of the economy will nevertheless remain below pre-crisis levels over the next years and the next quarters’ rapid expansion compared to 2009 is of one-off nature, since external demand growth is slowing.

Unemployment is expected to contract in the second half of 2010, but long-term unemployment will continue its growth trend well into the next year. Estonia’s labour market has been displaying clear revival signs, but high unemployment has not disappeared. Since the economy will not be able to create enough jobs even in the circumstances of faster growth, the issue of unemployment will persist in the years to come, coupled with the risks that people may lose their skills and that more and more jobless people may become discouraged. It is still too early to determine which structural changes the crisis has delivered.

The duration and extent of wage and price cuts have been smaller than the shrinkage in GDP would have given reason to suppose. The decline in wages and prices so far has helped the economy stabilise. At the same time there is the threat that the current wage and price level will not provide enough impetus for new investment and job creation. Inflation will be above the euro-area average in the next years, but mostly due to external factors and administrative measures. Headline inflation will speed up over the next months because of rising food prices. The scope and duration of the latter depends on developments in both global and neighbouring markets. However, the price hike of food is unlikely to have a permanent impact on inflation, as is also proved by euro-area inflation expectations. This, coupled with the considerable amount of underutilised production capacity and high unemployment will keep the inflation rate in Estonia at a low level in the coming years. If domestic price pressures surface, it may be a sign of either a weak competitive environment or insufficient post-crisis adjustment.

In order to restore fiscal surpluses, it is necessary to use growth-induced additional tax revenue for curbing the deficit and not for increasing expenses. The fiscal balance improvement of 2009 was an indispensable step in restoring confidence in the Estonian economy. At the same time, if growth in the external environment slows more sharply than anticipated, Estonia may have to cut costs even more. Both general government spending and tax burden have hiked in the aftermath of the crisis. Looking further ahead, it is important to determine whether or not the economy will cope with this load and if it is necessary to reduce taxes in order to support the growth potential. In addition, it is necessary to ascertain the cost structure that would contribute most to the latter.

The currently drafted Debt Restructuring Act plans to give court judges relatively free hands to decrease debts, which means banks may decide to discontinue the lowering of interest margins and to curb lending. If this risk materialises, economic growth will be weaker and shrinkage in unemployment slower than anticipated. Banks in Estonia have remained conservative and their lending activity is still subdued. Credit market activity, which has so far been more moderate than expected as regards both volumes and decreasing margins, plays a very important role in economic recovery.

Look at the graph: Economic forecast by key indicators

Source: Statistics Estonia, Eurostat, Eesti Pank

Estonian Air eyeing 30 destinations across Europe

The acquisition of new, smaller aircraft enables the Estonian carrier Estonian Air to serve a larger number of destinations profitably and the company’s strategic goal is to bring the number of direct European destinations to 30. The CEO and president of Estonian Air, Andrus Aljas, told reporters on Monday that the company’s primary focus was on flights lasting up to 2.5 hours. The number of passengers on the routes must be sufficient for twice daily operation. This means that there are plans to open new routes, but the managers speaking to reporters on Monday would not reveal more.
Aljas underscored the importance of Estonian Air’s cooperation with KLM and SAS, which allows the company to offer a large number of final destinations with a single change of aircraft.
The first two of the brand new Bombardiers to be delivered will be taken into use by Estonian Air from the beginning of next year and the third in 2012.
Estonian Air will not reveal the price of the aircraft or details of the deal’s financing arrangement. One of the financing parties is from Canada and as part of the down payment the company will use money to be received as an equity investment by the Estonian state. In connection with the arrival of the Bombardiers, Estonian Air will return the two Boeings it is currently using under a lease agreement.
The CEO emphasised that Estonian Air was buying the three aircraft under the same terms as agreed in the original agreement from 2008. If negotiations on the purchase of the planes were to be started from scratch the price definitely would be higher, he said, answering a question from a journalist. Originally the purchase was agreed as part of a larger acquisition of aircraft by the Scandinavian SAS group, which helped to bring the price lower, Aljas explained.

Source: Estonian Review

Average life expectancy of an Estonian is 75 years

Life expectancy in Estonia rose by almost one year in 2009 and was the highest ever for both the male and the female component of the population, data released by the national statistics office on Tuesday show. Average life expectancy rose by nearly one year to 75 years. The increase was slightly smaller than in 2008, when life expectancy at birth rose by 1.1 years.
It appears from data of Statistics Estonia that the gap between men’s and women’s life spans is among the widest in the European Union at 10.2 years. The difference has started to diminish in the last couple of years. As recently as two years ago men could expect to live 11.6 years less than women, which was one of the biggest disparities recorded in the last two decades, Helerin Rannala from the population statistics division said.
Last year life expectancy for men fell narrowly short of the 70 year mark at 69.8 years whereas life expectancy for women climbed over 80 years (80.1 years). A comparison of Baltic states’ statistics shows that Estonia had the highest life expectancy at birth in 2009. Rannala said life expectancy in the other Baltic states has likewise been rising in recent years in common with the general European trend.
The rise in life expectancy last year was most strongly influenced by a decline in the number of deaths. A marked decrease was recorded in deaths from cardiovascular and digestive diseases and accidental deaths. Another key indicator affecting life expectancy – infant mortality – declined by 30%.
Going by this year’s figures, it can be assumed that life expectancy may not continue rising as fast in 2010, Rannala said. There have been very many deaths by fire and by drowning.
Although life expectancy in Estonia has risen in recent years as more and more emphasis is put on the quality of life and healthy living it still remains among the lowest in Europe.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia exports 40 pct of its milk output

Currently about 40% of the milk produced by farms in Estonia is exported and this also shows in the price of milk and dairy products, a top executive at the dairy company AS Tere said.
Ülo Kivine, deputy chairman of the management board of the Tallinn-based company, told BNS that the price of raw milk has got a boost from the vigorous opening of nearby markets and developments in world market prices alike, and the price of raw milk in Estonia now is on the average European level.
Kivine explained that unlike in other branches of the food and beverage industry, in the dairy industry there is a very direct correlation between the price of raw material and the price of the product, as a liter of milk bought from the farmer goes into a one liter package for selling in stores and nothing is added to it.
“The price of raw material has jumped during the past year, and because of the inertia effect between input and output prices the price rise now comes out bigger. Electricity and transport have become substantially more expensive too in the meantime. These costs we have previously covered using internal resources,” said Kivine.
The price of a standard one liter package of drinking milk shot up by a quarter – from 7.90 kroons to roughly 10 kroons (from 50 to 64 eurocents) – at several leading retail chains in Estonia during Tuesday.
At the same time last year retailers were in a race to offer milk cheaper than rivals, bringing the price for a standard one liter package as low as 3.70 kroons.

Source: Estonian Review

Q2 profit of Estonian IT companies climbs 6 pct to 59 mEUR

The total profit of Estonia’s information technology companies in the second quarter of 2010 rose 6% compared with the same three-month period in 2009 to 930 million kroons (EUR 59.42 mln).
The sector’s total turnover grew by 1.2 billion kroons to 7.41 billion kroons.
The total number of workers of IT companies, reduced to full working hours, declined 5% year on year to 15 703 workers. The companies’ labour costs were down by 82.4 million kroons at 1.1 billion kroons. The number of companies in the sector increased by 273 companies, or 16%, to 1 928 companies.

Source: Estonian Review

Tartu University Genome Centre receives investments of 1.28 mEUR

The Estonian Tartu University Genome Centre Monday received a new gene sequencing platform; more than 19 million kroons (EUR 1.21 mln) of its cost of 20 mln kroons was provided by the European Regional Development Fund and the Estonian government via the measure on the modernisation of scientific apparatus.
The apparatus acquired makes it possible for the Genome Centre to sequence a person’s whole genome within one week; earlier it was not possible for the Genome Centre to do such accurate work, the Ministry for Education and Research said.
Thirty projects of 11 scientific and research institutions to the sum total of 240 million kroons got the opportunity to improve the installations of their research labs in the first round of the modernisation of scientific equipment endorsed by the Education and Research Ministry under the measure. The gene sequencing platform was one of the most expensive in the framework of the project.

Source: Estonian Review