Sale of Estonian euro coin starter kits starts on Wednesday

On Wednesday, branches of commercial banks and offices of Eesti Post will start selling starter kits that contain all the Estonian euro coins so that residents of Estonia could familiarise themselves with the new coins.

Starting from tomorrow it will also be possible to exchange kroons for euro banknotes at the central rate and without a service fee. Both the starter kits and the exchange of euro banknotes are intended for natural persons.

One starter kit costs 200 kroons and it is possible to purchase up to five starter kits at a time.

The starter kit consists of 42 euro coins worth 12.79 euro. The kit also contains a security chip confirming the authenticity of the coin set.

A total of 600,000 euro coin starter kits will be released for sale by Eesti Pank, so that each household would get one. Around 450,000 kits will be on sale from 1 December, the rest will reach sales counters in mid-December. The central bank is also ready to order more starter kits for December.

The starter kits are intended to allow residents to familiarise themselves with the new euro coins and to ensure people can start using cash as from 1 January, the €-day.

Eesti Pank has commissioned the kits from the Mint of Finland. The production of the starter kits is co-funded by the European Commission.

The coins in starter kits will become valid as from 1 January 2011, when euro becomes legal tender in Estonia.

The starter kit contains the following euro coins: seven 1-cent coins, six 2-, 5-, 10- and 20-cent coins, five 50-cent coins, four €1 coins and two €2 coins.

Click here to see the photo of the starter kit’s front side, here to see its back and here to see the security chip.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Industrial production grew significantly

According to Statistics Estonia, in October 2010 the production of industrial enterprises grew 37% compared to October of the previous year.

The moderate growth reported at the beginning of 2010 was followed by a rapid increase in spring; in summer enterprises gave over 20% and in September slightly over 30% more production than in the corresponding months of 2009. The growth in October was the biggest during this year. The growth of production has been mainly influenced by the increase in external demand as previously.

In October, the production of manufacturing increased about 40% compared to October 2009. Export sales of the manufacturing production increased significantly (54%). More than 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 13% compared to October of the previous year.

In October, the production exceeded the volume of the previous year 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 four times, and manufacturing of wood where the production grew by a quarter. With respect to the branches of manufacturing holding smaller shares, the production increased considerably in the manufacturing of motor vehicles, machinery and equipment 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 summed up ten months’ industrial production just reached the level of 2005.

In October 2010 compared to September, the seasonally adjusted industrial production rose 5%; the production of manufacturing grew 6%.

In October 2010 compared to October 2009, the production of electricity increased 65% and the production of heat fell 7%. 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 – October 2010 (2005 = 100)

Diagram: The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – October 2010

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Retail sales slightly increased

According to Statistics Estonia, in October 2010 compared to October of the previous year the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises increased 1% at constant prices. The retail sales slightly increased for the second month in succession.

The decrease in retail sales of retail trade enterprises that had lasted for almost two and a half years compared to the same month of the previous year, turned to 1% rise in September this year. A slight growth also remained in  October.

In October, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were 4.8 billion kroons (305 million euros). The increase in retail sales of goods was most influenced by the stores selling manufactured goods, where the retail sales increased by 6% compared to October of 2009. The sales increased in most economic activities. The growth in retail sales was the highest in stores selling textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods, where the retail sales increased 18% during the year. The increase was continually fast in other specialized stores, such as stores selling computers and their accessories, photography supplies, books, sports equipment, games and toys, etc. In those stores the retail sales increased 17% compared to October of the previous year. The sales in stores selling household goods and appliances, hardware and building materials also slightly recovered, but the retail sales of these stores could not gain growth yet in yearly comparison and the retail sales in these stores stayed at the same level as in October of the previous year.

The retail sales in grocery stores decreased 1% compared to the October of the previous year. The decrease in sales volume in these stores was caused by price increase of food products that had accelerated in October.

In October compared to the previous month, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises increased by 4% at constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data the retail sales stayed at the same level compared to the previous month. During the ten months of 2010 (January-October), the retail sales in retail trade enterprises decreased 5% at constant prices compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

In October the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were 5.9 billion kroons (376 million euros), out of which retail sales of goods accounted for 81%. Compared to October of the previous year, the revenues from sales increased 8% at current prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator increased 4%.

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

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

Source: Statistics Estonia

Decline on the construction market turned to increase

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2010 compared to the same period of the previous year, the total production of Estonian construction enterprises in Estonia and in foreign countries increased 1.2%. The decline on construction market, which had lasted for two and half years compared to the same quarter of the previous year turned to a rise again in the 3rd quarter this year.

The increase was caused by the construction enterprises operating in foreign countries. The construction volume of these enterprises increased about a fourth compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009. The increase was caused by the building constructions. At the same time the decline of building construction on the domestic construction market continued. Although the construction of civil engineering increased significantly, the total domestic market could not gain growth yet in yearly comparison because of the low level in building construction. The construction volumes on domestic construction market fell 1% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009.

In the 3rd quarter of 2010, the production value of construction enterprises amounted to 6.4 billion kroons (408 million euros), of which the production value of building construction was 3.3 billion kroons and the production of civil engineering totalled 3.1 billion kroons (212 and 196 million euros, respectively). Compared to the same period of 2009, the volume of building construction decreased 9% and the volume of civil engineering increased 15% at constant prices.

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2010, the seasonally and working-day adjusted construction volume increased by 7%.

According to the data of the Register of Construction Works, in the 3rd quarter of 2010 the number of dwelling completions was 481, i.e. about a half less than at the same period of 2009. 65% of completed dwellings were situated in block of flats. The majority of completed dwellings were situated in Tallinn. The demand for new dwellings is increasing. In the 3rd quarter building permits were granted for the construction of 526 dwellings, which exceeded the number of dwellings in the 2nd quarter this year as well as in the 3rd quarter of 2009. The most popular type of building was one-family dwelling.

In the 3rd quarter of 2010, the number of completed non-residential buildings was 174 with the useful floor area of 87,000 square metres. The useful floor area of office and commercial buildings increased the most. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009, the useful floor area and the cubic capacity of completed non-residential buildings decreased.

Construction volume index and its trend, 1st quarter 2000 – 3rd quarter 2010 (average of quarters of 2005 = 100)

Diagram: Construction volume index and its trend, 1st quarter 2000 – 3rd quarter 2010

Source: Statistics Estonia

Over half of the Estonians support transition to the euro

Of Estonian residents 54% support transition to the euro, five percentage points more than in October, it appears from the euro monitoring poll ordered by the Estonian Finance Ministry and the State Chancellery.
In November 36% of the respondents did not support the transition to the common currency and 10% were not able to state their point of view. In October 40% of the residents were not in favour of the introduction of the euro. Compared with the previous poll support has increased more than the average among women and the oldest group of residents, the Finance Ministry said.
The residents’ information about the euro has also increased – this could be seen from both the respondents’ self-assessment as well as knowledge of the facts of the practical transition to the euro. In the November survey 89% of those interviewed believed that they were well or sufficiently informed about the changeover to the euro, while 13% found that additional information was necessary. In October the corresponding figures were 84 and 21%.
According to Kalev Petti, the person in charge of the poll, the circumstance that the people had received more concrete and practical news instead of general information had contributed to the increased support for the European currency.

Source: Estonian Review

Public broadcaster makes archives accessible via Internet

Audiovisual heritage held in the archives of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Company, ERR, can be accessed over the internet starting Friday, 19 November.
The materials can be accessed via the web page arhiiv.err.ee, spokespeople for ERR said. Web-based access to the audio and video archives has been created on the initiative of ERR in order to make digital audiovisual cultural heritage accessible to everyone free of charge. Right now the material that can be accessed consists of television and radio broadcasts.
ERR is ready to start negotiations with all major content producers, television and radio stations and film archives who are interested in preserving and publishing their audiovisual material in the digital archives of ERR. Cooperation toward this end is already under way with the Estonian Film Information System (EFIS) being created by the non-profit organisation Eesti Filmi Andmebaas (Estonian Film Database).
The ERR archives can be accessed over the internet both anonymously and after identification. Anonymous users can access content that ERR is free to release to all parties.

Source: Estonian Review

Older women are facing greater risk of poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2008 the at-risk-of-poverty rate of older women was over two times higher than that of older men. 41% of women aged 65 and older and 19% of men of the same age lived in relative poverty.

These are the facts set out in the newly published collection ”Sotsiaaltrendid. 5. Social Trends” that analyses ageing of the population and its impact on the society.

In 2008, almost every fifth person in Estonia lived below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. Among people aged 65 and older more than a third were in relative poverty. Thus, compared to other population in Estonia, older people were much more prone to experience problems related to economic difficulties.

Females, in particular, tend to end up in economic difficulties due to their longer life expectancy. If slightly more than a fourth of the women aged 55–64 live alone, then already more than a half of the women aged 75 or older are living alone. Similarly, the share of men living alone also increases at older age, but this increase is still relatively moderate compared to that of women. Only 28% of men aged 75 and over are living alone.

At old age, the income of one person is not sufficient to avoid poverty. 71% of persons aged over 64 and living alone were in poverty. The risk of falling into poverty is much lower among elderly couples compared to other households. Only 3% of the couples, where both partners were older than 64 years, lived in relative poverty in 2008.

Bigger income does not automatically ensure greater subjectively perceived welfare. Compared to other households, the single elderly people consider their coping capacity to be the worst. One in every five elderly persons living alone made ends meet only through difficulties, and two in every five claimed to cope with some difficulties. Their assessment of their coping capacity is comparable with that of single parents, who made ends meet only slightly better. A couple aged over 64, whose at-risk-of-poverty rate was the lowest, did not deem their economic situation to be the best of all. 40% of such couples coped with some difficulties or with difficulties, whereas only 5% of the couples said they cope with no trouble. Couples with one or two children as well as people under 65, who live either alone or with a partner, deemed the economic coping capacity of their household to be better compared to the afore-mentioned group.

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with an equalised yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. At-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the median equalised yearly disposable income of household members. Equalised disposable income is the total household income, which is divided by the sum of equivalence scales of all household members.

The publication ”Sotsiaaltrendid. 5. Social Trends” (http://www.stat.ee/38018) focuses on population aged over 50 and presents an overview of their situation on the labour market, coping and health, also providing comparison of Estonia with other EU Member States.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Central bank identified companies that mishandled new euro coins

Eesti Pank has identified two companies that had received 60 large euro coin starter kits with a total value of 11,880 euro in the course of sub-frontloading, but were unable to show any of them to Eesti Pank during the check carried out on Tuesday.

So far a very small number of companies has received sets of Estonian euro coins and sub-frontloading has been done by SEB Pank only.

According to preliminary investigation info, ten kits of new euro coins were offered for sale at the gathering of numismatists in Riga on 14 November.

On Tuesday, Eesti Pank checked four companies that had received coin starter kits. Two of them were able to present all the sets they had got, whereas two enterprises were unable to present any coin kits.

Frontloading contracts that Eesti Pank has signed with commercial banks state that the euro cash commercial banks receive must be deposited separately from other cash and in conditions that prevent theft, loss or damage. In addition, the contracts prescribe that the euro cash frontloaded to commercial banks will be sub-frontloaded to retail companies, cash handlers or other companies entitled to receive euro cash in advance.

Contracts concluded between Eesti Pank and commercial banks also state that sub-frontloading contracts commercial banks sign with companies must prescribe that the euro cash companies receive must be deposited separately from other cash and in conditions that prevent theft, loss or damage.

A very important condition of both frontloading and sub-frontloading contracts is that the euro cash received must not be released into circulation before the €-day.

Eesti Pank’s authorised persons must be allowed access to commercial banks’ and companies’ euro cash deopsitories to check whether the storage and depositing conditions are followed. In case of breach of contract by commercial banks or companies, contractual penalties will apply.

Eesti Pank intends to treat the cases of euro cash mishandling very strictly.

Eesti Pank has been carrying out random checks of commercal banks and enterprises that have received euro cash and continues to do so. So far there have been no problems with depositing conditions and the amounts of cash distributed are still there.

The coins that were offered for sale in Riga are no longer on sale.

The producer of Estonia’s euro coins is Mint of Finland, where a cash theft was uncovered this autumn. The company has officially stated that no Estonian euro coins were taken.

An additional check carried out at Eesti Pank confirmed that all euro coins are accounted for and comply with documents. The cash handler G4S performed an internal check and confirmed that the euro coins Eesti Pank has given to the company for handling are accounted for and comply with documents.

Background info
Euro cash frontloading means the central bank distributes euro cash to commercial banks and sub-frontloading means commercial banks distribute euro cash to companies. Both cases include contracts and cash is given out against security, that is, bought out.

The euro coin sets intended for companies reach them as follows: the central bank hands euro cash over to the cash handler G4S, who prepares starter kits for enterprises. Then G4S transports the kits to commercial banks that have signed contracts with the central bank. Commercial banks, in turn, distribute the sets to companies that have concluded sub-frontloading contracts with commercial banks. The large starter kit contains coins in the value of 198 euro and the small kit in the value of 111 euro.

The distribution of euro cash prior to the €-day is necessary to ensure a smooth changeover to the euro. Frontloading makes sure banks will be ready to exchange kroons for euro and sub-frontloading allows companies to return change in euro. Other countries that have adopted the euro have used the same system.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Tallinna Kaubamaja boost Q3 earnings almost fivefold

The listed Estonian retail group AS Tallinna Kaubamaja has posted a consolidated unaudited net profit of 73.2 million kroons (EUR 4.7 mln) for the third quarter of 2010, compared with a profit of 15.4 million kroons (EUR 1 mln) earned during the same three months in 2009.
Sales revenue in the third quarter amounted to 1.6 billion kroons, marking an increase of 0.4 percent year-on-year. The group’s sales revenue in Estonia grew by 4.0% in the third quarter and by 0.2% in the first nine months of the year. In the first nine months the group earned a net profit of 144.7 million kroons. The result for the same period a year ago was a loss of 23 million kroons.
Tallinna Kaubamaja’s consolidated unaudited sales revenue in the first nine months of 2010 was 4.6 billion kroons, down 3.6% from 4.8 billion kroons in the respective period a year ago, the retailer told the stock exchange.

Source: Estonian Review

Average montly labor cost is 1,027 euros

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2010, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were 11,874 kroons (759 euros) and the hourly gross wages and salaries were 72.00 kroons (4.60 euros). Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were by 0.9% higher and the average hourly gross wages and salaries were by 0.3% higher.

The average monthly gross wages and salaries that had been in falling trend for five quarters compared to the same quarter of the previous year, increased 1.2% in the 2nd quarter this year. In the 3rd quarter the growth continued, but at slower pace. At the same time, the real wages which took into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index decreased for the eighth quarter in succession. In the 3rd quarter of 2010 the real wages decreased by 2.3%.

As at the end of September, the number of employees was 4.8% smaller than in 2009 at the same time.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased the most in mining and quarrying (9.2%) and decreased the most in real estate activities (10.2%).

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009, the average hourly gross wages and salaries increased the most in agriculture, forestry and fishing (5.2%) and decreased the most in real estate activities (11.3%).

The average gross wages and salaries were 11,817 kroons (755 euros) in July, 11,523 kroons (736 euros) in August and 12,276 kroons (785 euros) in September.

In the 3rd quarter of 2010, the employer’s average monthly labour costs per employee were 16,068 kroons (1,027 euros) and the average hourly labour costs were 114.93 kroons (7.35 euros). Compared to the 3rd quarter of the previous year, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased 0.3% and the average hourly labour costs decreased 0.5%.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased the most in mining and quarrying (9.7%), and decreased the most in real estate activities (10.2%). The average hourly labour costs increased the most in agriculture, forestry and fishing (5.3%) and decreased the most in real estate activities (13.3%).

Statistics Estonia conducts the survey of wages and salaries statistics on the basis of international methodology since 1992. In 2010, the sample includes 11,685 enterprises, institutions and organisations. The average monthly gross wages and salaries have been given in full time units to enable a comparison of different wages and salaries, irrespective of the length of working time. Calculations of the monthly gross wages and salaries are based on payments for actually worked time and remuneration for time not worked. The hourly gross wages and salaries do not include remuneration for time not worked (holiday leave pay, benefits, etc.). In short term statistics, the average gross wages and salaries are measured as a component of labour costs. Labour costs include gross wages and salaries, employer’s contributions and employer’s imputed social contributions to employees.

The low monthly wages and salaries of educational staff in the 3rd quarter were related to the reflecting of holiday pay of the most of employees in the 2nd quarter.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries, 1st quarter 2006– 3rd quarter 2010 (kroons)
  Year 1st quarter 2nd quarter 3rd quarter 4th quarter
2006 9 407 8 591 9 531 9 068 10 212
2007 11 336 10 322 11 549 10 899 12 270
2008 12 912 12 337 13 306 12 512 13 117
2009 12 264 12 147 12 716 11 770 12 259
2010   11 865 12 869 11 874  

Average monthly gross wages and salaries
and monthly labour costs per employee, 3rd quarter 2010

Diagram: Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 3rd quarter 2010

Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 3rd quarter 2010

Diagramm: Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 3rd quarter 2010

Source: Statistics Estonia

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.