Postal offices exchange euros

In the first two weeks of January, 179 post offices will exchange kroons for euros. The limit is 1,000 euros per day per customer.  As for all kroon to euro conversions, the service is free and the exchange rate is fixed.

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At least 5 pct of Estonians work in Finland

Although there are no precise records on how many Estonians have jobs in Finland, ETV reported that the number is at least 46,000, making up approximately 5 percent of the working-age population. According to a Statistics Finland estimate, around 21,000 Estonians travel back and forth to work in Finland. In addition to these, the Finnish migration authority has records on nearly 25,000 Estonians residing permanently in Finland.

In October, the business daily Äripäev estimated the number of Estonian construction workers in Finland to be around 30,000.

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Estonia’s first 3D documentary to focus on Lennart Meri

Estonia’s first 3D documentary film, “Monologues,” will be a minimalist portrait of late president Lennart Meri. Though Meri’s life is the primary focus of the work, director Arko Okk also tells the story of Meri’s compatriots, examining the man through the eyes of his contemporaries. Meri, who served as president from 1992 to 2001, was himself an accomplished  documentary film maker in the mid-20th century. He died in 2006.

“Monologues” will be released in February 2011.

Source: ERR News

Russians visit for tax-free shopping

More Russians who visit Estonia appear to be shopping in Narva for commodities that have grown expensive on their side of the border.

While the EU visa requirement for Russian citizens means the phenomenon is nowhere near that of  Finnish  “vodka tourists” who travel to Tallinn, two major supermarket chains decided to join the ranks of electronics stores and more premium merchants that offer tax-free shopping. 

On the minimum eligible purchase of 38.5 euros it is possible to get up to 4.8 euros back. The refundable percentage increases on larger purchases.  The average purchase is slightly under 100 euros, according to a manager with Rimi.  

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Estonians pay more for gas

Gasoline prices have reached a record high in Estonia, due to the world market and increasing domestic costs.

On December 28, gas and diesel cost 1.2 euros per liter at Statoil stations, reported ERR radio.

Statoil representative Kai Realo said prices in Estonia are dependent of the world market as the country does not have its own refinery. Domestic taxes are the primary reason why gas is more expensive in Estonia than in some other EU countries, Realo added.

Source: ERR News (Estonian Public Broadcasting)

Export to Sweden increased significantly

According to Statistics Estonia, in October this year compared to October of the previous year, exports of goods grew by 47% and imports by 38% at current prices. Exports to Sweden increased 2.2 times, mainly influenced by the increase in dispatches of machinery and equipment.

In October 2010, exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 13.1 billion kroons (840 million euros) and imports to Estonia to 13.3 billion kroons (850 million euros). The trade deficit amounted to 0.2 billion kroons (10 million euros), which was more than fourfold smaller than in October 2009.

In October, for two months in succession, the first place in Estonia’s export destination countries was held by Sweden (19% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (16%) and Russia (10%). Compared to October of the previous year, exports to Sweden increased by 1.4 billion kroons (87 million euros). Exports increased significantly also to Finland and Russia. Electrical equipment and furniture were mainly exported to Finland and electrical equipment and paints and varnishes to Russia.

The main countries from where goods were imported to Estonia were Finland (15% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany and Sweden (12% from each). Arrivals from Sweden increased by 0.7 billion kroons (46 million euros) or 79%. Arrivals from Germany also increased significantly. Electrical equipment and oil products were mainly imported from Finland, vehicles and parts thereof and electrical equipment from Germany and Sweden.

In Estonia’s exports the biggest share was held by the commodities of machinery and equipment (a quarter of Estonia’s total exports), mineral products (12%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Exports of machinery and equipment increased nearly twofold compared to October of the previous year. Exports of mineral products (incl. fuels and electricity) and transport equipment also increased significantly (63% and 68%, respectively).

In October the biggest share of Estonia’s imports was also held by machinery and equipment (28% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (12%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Compared to October 2009, arrivals of machinery and equipment increased by nearly twofold. Imports of metals and products thereof also increased significantly (76%).

In October compared to September this year, exports and imports of goods decreased by 1%.

In Baltic countries exports of goods increased by a quarter in Latvia and imports by 28% in October 2010 compared to the same month of the previous year. Exports of goods in Lithuania increased by 44% and imports by 38%.

Estonia’s foreign trade, January–October, 2009–2010
Month Exports, mEEK Imports, mEEK Balance, mEEK
2009 2010  %   2009 2010  % 2009 2010
January 7 270 8 134 12 8 851 8 488 -4 -1 581 -354
February 7 818 9 841 26 8 780 9 547 9 -962 294
March 8 345 9 834 18 9 825 12 560 28 -1 480 -2 726
April 7 728 10 638 38 9 385 10 899 16 -1 657 -261
May 8 165 11 395 40 8 555 12 408 45 -390 -1 013
June 9 550 10 380 9 9 811 11 928 22 -261 -1 548
July 8 251 10 957 33 9 444 11 553 22 -1 193 -596
August 8 120 11 206 38 9 134 12 152 33 -1 014 -946
September 9 428 13 249 41 9 956 13 406 35 -528 -157
October 8 950 13 138 47 9 652 13 302 38 -702 -164

 Read more from Statistics Estonia