Retail sales grew in February

According to Statistics Estonia, in February 2012 compared to February of the previous year, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises increased 12% at constant prices.

Compared to the same month of the previous year, the retail sales took an upturn in February 2011 and showed a stable growth within 2–6% till the end of the year. This January, the growth in retail sales accelerated and retail sales increased 16% during the year. In February the retail sales growth rate slowed down slightly, but still achieved a significant growth.

In February 2012, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises amounted to 305.3 million euros. The retail sales in stores selling manufactured goods increased 16% compared to February 2011. The sales increased in all economic activities. The retail sales of pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics and the retail sales in stores selling textiles, clothing and footwear increased the most, where the retail sales grew during the year 24% and 22%, respectively. The growth in retail sales of these stores was influenced by the lower reference base of the previous year. Other specialized stores, such as stores selling computers and their accessories, photography supplies, books, sports equipment, games and toys (growth 16%) and stores selling household goods, appliances, hardware and building materials (growth 12%) were also successful in February.

The retail sales in grocery stores increased 10% compared to February of the previous year. The growth in retail sales of these stores was influenced by the low reference base of the previous year and by continuous deceleration in the price increase of food products. If in the last three months the annual price increase of food products was within 4%, then in February 2.9%.

Compared to the previous month, in February the retail sales in retail trade enterprises decreased 5% 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.

In February the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were 385.1 million euros, out of which the retail sales of goods accounted for about 80%. Compared to February 2011, the revenues from sales increased by a fifth 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 – February 2012 (2005 = 100)

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

Source: Statistics Estonia

Fiscal policy is better off in Estonia than in most of the other EU countries

According to Ülo Kaasik, Deputy Governor of Eesti Pank, Estonia’s economic policy can concentrate on long-term growth, whereas many other countries are forced to deal with short-term problems.

“Estonia’s peculiarity — in its positive meaning — is that the economic policy focus does not rest on putting out fires but on ensuring as rapid growth as possible in the longer term,” said Ülo Kaasik on Wednesday at a conference for accountants.
However, the Deputy Governor noted that in order to maintain the peculiarity, continued efforts are needed to restore budget balance and reserves. “Although fiscal policy is better off in Estonia than in most of the other EU countries, the government has to continue with their plans of improving the budget balance and accumulating reserves.”

In addition to prudent economic policy, Estonia as a small country also requires a favourable external environment, added Kaasik. “In the midst of the debt crisis we must not forget that the European Economic and Monetary Union has not lost any of the good reasons it has been based on. I have not heard of any better alternatives. The lesson of the crisis is to make the union serve its citizens even better.”

“Solving the debt crisis has included several steps improving the management of the EU and aiming to ensure long-term balanced growth. One of the solutions has been the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which allows a rapid response to risks to the stability of the entire euro area. This means its objective is larger than helping out single countries,” said Kaasik.

He also highlighted that euro area central banks have alleviated the crisis by providing unlimited liquidity to commercial banks. According to the Deputy Governor, the goal has been to avoid a situation, where households and companies suffer due to a sharp decline in the ability and willingness of banks to lend.

“After two long-term liquidity provision operations there are now first signs of the impact of the central banks on economic activity. It has, however, come at a price — risks in the balance sheet of central banks have heightened,” Kaasik noted.

“The volume of the ESM is more than two times smaller than the extraordinary loans issued by central banks to commercial banks. The related risks are also Eesti Pank’s risks, since both revenue and expenditure are allocated according to participation in the ECB. When we compare the size of euro area central banks with their participation in the ECB, it can be seen that Eesti Pank’s reserves are about three times smaller than the average. As a result, we must, in cooperation with the Supervisory Board of Eesti Pank, find ways to increase our reserves,” he added.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Tallinners to have free public transport from 2013

Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar announced that 68,000 people participated in the public referendum held in Tallinn last week. This is about a fifth of all residents of Tallinn who were eligible to attend the referendum, reports ERR.  Of them, 75.5 percent supported the idea to introduce free public transport in Tallinn, while 24.5 percent were against.

Commenting the outcome, Mayor Savisaar said that the mandate was sufficient to start putting the free public transport plan into action from January 1st, 2013.

Read more from: BBN

Estonian general government surplus was 1 pct

According to preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, in 2011 the Estonian general government sector surplus was 1% and gross debt level was 6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At the end of 2011, the total revenues of the general government surmounted the expenditures, accounted as the Maastricht deficit criteria, by 163.9 million euros. The volume of the revenues as well as expenditures increased compared to 2010. The total revenues increased to 6.3 billion euros (7%) and the total expenditures to 6.1 billion euros (5%). Only the revenue from property income decreased mainly due to reducing of the dividends paid to the state.

In 2011 compared to the previous year, the total tax revenues received by general government increased by 345.1 million euros, bringing in 5.2 billion euros. Taxes on products and import taxes accounted for the biggest share of tax revenues (42%), totalling 2.2 billion euros or 11% more than a year earlier. The receipt from the taxes on properties and on income was one billion euros (8% more than a year ago), accounting for one fifth of the total revenues. The revenue from the social security contributions was 2 billion euros or 3% more than in the previous year.

The expenditures of central government exceeded the revenues again in 2011, although the deficit was only 0.7 million euros. Compared to the previous year, the volume of the central government loans increased by 5% while the volume of the securities other than shares decreased by 4%. Loans comprise the lion’s share of central government’s debt (83%). 55% of the central government’s loans were financed by the foreign capital.

In local governments’ sector the revenues amounted to 16.9 million euros more than expenditures made. The overall debt level of local governments remained on the same level as a year earlier, but the volume of the loans decreased by 4% and the volume of the securities other than shares, accounting for three quarters of the local governments’ debt portfolio, increased by 8%.

The most important role in achieving the surplus of general government consolidated budget was played by the social security funds, which in the previous year raised the surplus to 147.7 million euros (the growth 79%). The debt of the social security funds is continuously very small compared to other sectors and it even decreased compared to a year earlier. The general government consolidated debt (Maastricht debt) was 965 million euros at the end of 2011, increasing 1% compared to the previous year.

Surplus/deficit and debt level of the general government in Estonia, 1995–2011

Diagram: Surplus/deficit and debt level of the general government in Estonia, 1995–2011

In Estonia the General Government sector comprises three sub-sectors: 1) central government (state budget units and extra-budgetary funds, foundations, public-legal institutions); 2) local governments (city and commune administrations with their subsidiary units, foundations); 3) social security funds (Health Insurance Fund, Unemployment Insurance Fund).

Eurostat is going to publish the data on the preliminary debt and deficit levels of the Member States on 23 April.

Source: Statistics Estonia

22 pct of persons employed use public transport for going to work

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2011, the number of passengers carried by Estonian transport enterprises continued to decrease for the fifth year in succession. The decline in the number of passengers carried was influenced the most by reduction of passengers in urban transport. Transport enterprises carried more goods compared to the previous year.

In 2011, the number of passengers carried by Estonian transport enterprises amounted to 159 million, of which 151 million were carried in domestic traffic. Passenger transport decreased by 8% compared to the previous year. Urban transport (i.e. buses, trams and trolleybuses) was used by nearly 117 million passengers, which was 13% (over 17 million passengers) less than a year earlier. The number of passengers in other domestic road transport (excl. urban transport) increased by 7% during the year, but slightly decreased in domestic railway traffic. The number of passengers in domestic sea transport and flights increased by 1% and 12%, respectively. The Estonian Labour Force Survey indicated that the use of public transport for going to work is decreasing from year to year. In 2011, 22% of persons employed used public transport for going to work, in 2006 the respective indicator was 28% and in 2001 – 31%.

The number of passengers in international traffic was about 8.1 million, of which 6.3 million passengers in sea transport, nearly one million in road transport and 0.8 million passengers in air transport. The number of passengers in international traffic increased 10% compared to a year earlier. The passenger traffic volume of transport enterprises increased 5% compared to the previous year and in international passenger traffic the total growth was 12% mainly due to the increase in the passenger traffic volume of sea and air transport in international traffic. The passenger traffic volume of urban transport decreased 11% and in other domestic road transport 1%.

In 2011, transport enterprises carried over 81 million tonnes of goods or 3% more than a year earlier. The freight turnover was 15 billion tonne-kilometres. In 2011, the increase in freight turnover by 3% was mainly influenced by the road transport, where it increased by 22%. The freight turnover of rail and sea transport enterprises decreased by 6% and 28%, respectively. International transport covered 86% of the total freight turnover and increased by 3% during the year, in road transport even by 31%. In domestic traffic, the freight turnover decreased by 2%.

According to preliminary data, the loss of transport enterprises was 47 million euros in 2011. However, the loss was much smaller than a year earlier. The net sales of transport enterprises were 1.9 billion euros, which was 12% more than in 2010. The sales of carriage of goods gave over a half and the sales of carriage of passengers a fifth of the net sales. The sales of carriage of goods increased by 16% and the sales of carriage of passengers by 11% compared to the previous year. In 2011, the subsidies for passenger transport totalled 94 million euros, which was 11% more than a year earlier.

Passenger traffic volume is the volume of work done in the transport of passengers. It is measured in passenger-kilometres. One passenger-kilometre is the transport of one person one kilometre away.

Freight turnover is the volume of work done in the transport of goods. It is measured in tonne-kilometres. One tonne-kilometre (ton-km) is the transport of one tonne of goods one kilometre away.

Source: Statistics Estonia

707,700 women and 610,300 men live in Estonia

According to Statistics Estonia, by adjusted data, the number of population in Estonia decreased by about 3,000 persons in 2011 and on 1 January 2012 it totalled 1,318,000 persons.

Population adjustment showed that the decrease was smaller than January’s preliminary data revealed. “Preliminary population results were adjusted mainly due to the adding of immigrants’ data,” explained the Leading Statistician Helerin Rannala. “We did not have the people’s data with residence permits in January yet,” she added.

In 2011, the decline of the estimated population was influenced by the decrease in the number of births and the increase of the emigration. 14,679 live births and 15,244 deaths were registered, 3,709 persons immigrated to Estonia and 6,214 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2011.

There have always been slightly more women in the population and at the beginning of the year 707,700 women and 610,300 men lived in Estonia. In 2011, the number of women declined by 2,300 and that of men by about 670 persons. The number of working-age persons (aged 15–64) also continued to decline. On 1 January 2012, approximately 7,000 working-age persons less lived in Estonia than at the beginning of the previous year. At the same time the number of children increased. The share of urban population was 63%. Almost one third of Estonia’s population live in the capital city Tallinn.

Estonian population, 1 January 2012

Diagram: Estonian population, 1 January 2012

Estonian population by age groups, 1 January 2012
Year Total 0–14 15–64 65+ Age un

known

2012 1 318 005 206 130 882 294 229 494 87
2011 1 320 976 204 308 889 289 227 285 94
2010 1 323 323 201 603 893 581 228 028 111
2009 1 324 260 199 164 896 336 228 640 120
2008 1 325 408 197 382 898 283 229 612 131
2007 1 327 484 198 335 900 773 228 220 156
2006 1 333 028 201 422 907 240 224 171 195
2005 1 339 168 207 369 909 763 221 775 261
2004 1 344 526 215 124 910 986 218 109 307
2003 1 351 527 224 321 912 171 214 679 356
2002 1 358 073 233 440 913 832 210 407 394
2001 1 365 633 242 207 915 473 207 535 418
2000 1 372 438 250 567 916 219 205 211 441

The estimated population number is based on the 2000 Population and Housing Census data which are supplemented with the annual data on registered births, deaths and migration. It differs from the population number in the Population Register where the data are based on the registration of a person’s place of residence. Internationally, the Census data are considered more accurate than the Register data, because people may have different reasons for alteration of data while registering their place of residence. At the same time Statistics Estonia’s data are deteriorated by the long period of time since the last Census.

Statistics Estonia will publish the preliminary population number of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011) in May and the final number in December 2012. After that population accounts will be revised.

PHC 2011 takes place from 31.12.2011 to 31.03.2012 and it is conducted using a combined method: from 31.12.2011 to 01.02.2012 permanent residents had a chance to fill in the Census questionnaire over the Internet and those who did not use the e-Census option are interviewed by the enumerator at home till the end of March.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

For the first time the number of Russian tourists exceeded Finnish

According to Statistics Estonia, in January 2012, 154,000 tourists stayed in the accommodation establishments of Estonia, which was 5% more than in January the year earlier. For the first time, the number of tourists from Russia exceeded the number of tourists from Finland.

In January, 95,000 foreign and 59,000 domestic tourists used the services of accommodation establishments – that is respectively 8% and 2% more than in January last year. The growth in the number of tourists was considerably lower than in January 2011, when the number of foreign tourists increased about a quarter and the number of domestic tourists by 12% compared to January 2010.

38,000 tourists from Russia, representing 40% of the total number of accommodated foreign tourists, used the services of accommodation establishments. 27% more tourists from Russia stayed in accommodation establishments than in January a year ago. 30,000 tourists came from Finland and their number decreased 7%. The number of tourists from Latvia, Norway and Germany also increased. The number of tourists from Sweden and United Kingdom stayed on the same level as in January in the previous year.

38% of the clients of accommodation establishments were domestic tourists. About 1,000 domestic tourists more used the services of accommodation establishments, compared to January 2011. 29% of domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments in Harju county, 12% in Tartu county, 13% in Pärnu county, and 10% in Valga county. 52% of the domestic tourists were on holiday and almost a third were on business trips.

In January, 771 accommodation establishments offered services for tourists. 16,900 rooms and 37,300 bed-places were available for tourists, which is about 900 bed-places more than in January a year ago. The room occupancy rate was 34% and the bed occupancy rate was 28%.

The average cost of a guest night in an accommodation establishment was 30 euros, which is 3 euros more than in January 2011.

Accommodated tourists in accommodation establishments, January 2007–2012

Diagram: Accommodated tourists in accommodation establishments, January 2007–2012

Source: Statistics Estonia

The trade deficit was 50 Meuros in January

According to Statistics Estonia, in January 2012, exports of goods from Estonia grew by 15% and imports to Estonia by 10% at current prices compared to the same month of the previous year. Foreign trade deficit decreased due to the growth in exports being faster than in imports.

In January 2012 exports from Estonia amounted to 942 million euros and imports to Estonia to 992 million euros at current prices. The trade deficit was registered as nearly 50 million euros, compared to 79 million euros in January 2011.

In Estonia’s exports the biggest share was held by machinery and equipment (28% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products incl. petrol, fuel oils and electricity (16%) and metals and products thereof (10%). The growth of Estonia’s total exports was mostly influenced by the dispatches of machinery and equipment, which increased by 19% compared to January 2011. Growth in exports was also influenced by an increase in the dispatches of metals and products thereof (up 52%). There was a slight decrease in the dispatches of textile products (down 8%).

In January the biggest share of Estonia’s imports was held by machinery and equipment (26% of Estonia’s total imports), followed by mineral products (15%) and agricultural products and food preparations (9%). Estonia’s total imports were mostly influenced by an increase in the arrivals of machinery and equipment, which grew by 17% compared to January 2011. Arrivals of raw materials and products of chemical industry also increased significantly. Arrivals of transport equipment decreased by 23%.

The top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Sweden (15% of Estonia’s total exports), Finland (14%) and Russia (8%). Estonia’s total exports were mostly influenced by an increase in the dispatches to the Netherlands and USA compared to January 2011 (growth rate 64% and 144%, respectively). Exports to Sweden decreased by 11%. Electrical equipment, wood and products thereof and miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture) were the main commodities exported to Sweden and Finland, while mechanical equipment was the main commodity exported to Russia.

The main countries of consignment were Germany (14% of Estonia’s total imports), Finland (13%) and Sweden (9%). Imports increased the most from the countries with the biggest share in Estonia’s total imports – Germany and Finland (growth rate 76% and 45%, respectively). Arrivals of goods from Russia decreased by 27%. Goods registered under the chapter of industrial plant were the most common commodity imported from Germany, fuels from Finland and electrical equipment from Sweden.

In January 2012, compared to December 2011, exports and imports remained on the same level. According to Eurostat, the economic sentiment indicator, which reflects Estonia’s entrepreneurs’ and consumers’ confidence, also remained on the same level. In Estonia, as well as in Sweden and Finland, the same indicator improved somewhat in February.

Estonia’s trade by months, 2009–2012

Diagram: Estonia’s trade by months, 2009–2012

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Estonia 8th among top smartest countries in the world

In its list of the top 10 smartest countries in the world, based on the latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released last year, this website gives the list of  countries with the highest percentage of university- and college-educated populations in the world.

“In Estonia, formal education dates back to the 13th century, when the first monastic and cathedral schools were founded. For a country with a population of 1.3 million, Estonia has an impressive 33 institutions that provide higher education and is known for excellence in pharmacology-toxicology, environmental sciences, material technology, biomedicine and semiotics. “

Estonia shares the 8th position with Ireland. In these two countries, 36 per cent of the population hold university degrees.

The Top1 country is Canada. In 2010, 52 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over had a post-secondary education. And more women — 71 per cent — than men — 65 per cent — aged 25 to 44 had completed their university or college education.

Read more here, MSN Travel

In 2011 GDP increased by 7.6 pct

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2011 the gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 7.6% compared to the previous year. In the 4th quarter, GDP growth decelerated to 4.5% according to the second estimates.

2011

In 2011 the GDP at current prices was 15.97 billion euros.

In the first three quarters of 2011, GDP growth was mainly driven by manufacturing. Construction and information and communication activities started to contribute the most to economic growth since the second half-year. The increase in the value-added tax and excise duty collected also had a significant impact. The value added of manufacturing grew mainly with the support of exports, with the manufacturing of computers, electronic and optical products having the biggest influence on this growth. The growth in construction was mainly supported by the repair and reconstruction work of buildings. The fast growth of information technology and telecommunication services had the biggest impact on the growth of the value added of information and communication.

GDP growth was inhibited by the decrease in the value added of real estate activities. The value added of this economic activity has decreased already for one and a half years, that is, since the 3rd quarter of 2010. The decrease in the value added of imputed rent calculations of dwellings at both current and constant prices, including fast-growing rentals, has been the main reason for this decrease.

Domestic demand increased by 11% in 2011, mainly due to the fast growth of gross capital formation, especially due to business-sector investments in transport equipment and machinery and equipment. Inventories of goods and materials of the business sector increased fast. Household final consumption expenditures increased moderately, influenced mainly by the increase in purchase of vehicles and catering services. Despite the fast growth of domestic demand, the total of final consumption expenditures and capital formation was still less than the GDP by output method. Domestic demand decreased below the GDP in 2009, before that it had been bigger than the GDP by output method.

In 2011, the export of goods and services grew by 25% in real terms, whereas the export of goods increased by 32%. The import of goods and services increased by 27%, with the import of goods improving by 28%. The fast growth of exports and imports of computers, electronic and optical products had the biggest influence on Estonian foreign trade. The export of goods was also significantly supported by the exports of other machinery and equipment, whereas import by the imports of wood and wood products. Import of services grew fast, mainly due to goods transportation services by air transport. The share of net exports in the GDP was 4.9%. The figure has been positive already for three years, although compared to 2010 the level decreased.

4th quarter 2011

The GDP at current prices was 4.22 billion euros in the 4th quarter. Compared to the 3rd quarter, the seasonally and working-day adjusted GDP decreased by 0.2% in the 4th quarter. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, GDP growth decelerated to 4.5%.

The growth of value added of manufacturing, which has had the biggest impact on economic growth during the past year and a half, decelerated and its contribution to GDP growth decreased sharply. The value added of manufacturing grew mainly with the support of exports. The export growth of goods of manufacturing decelerated sharply in the 4th quarter 2011, mainly due to the decrease in the export of computers, electronic and optical products.

GDP growth was boosted the most by the fast growth of the value added of construction and information and communication. The growth in construction was supported mainly by the repair and reconstruction work of buildings. The construction volume of civil engineering works also increased rapidly. The fast growth of information technology and telecommunication services had the biggest impact on the growth of the value added of information and communication.

In the 4th quarter, GDP growth was inhibited by the decrease in the value added of energy supply and real estate activities. The decrease in electricity production, partly caused by the replacement of own production with import and by the decrease in energy consumption due to milder weather, had an impact on energy supply. The decrease in the value added of imputed rent calculations of dwellings at both current and constant prices, including fast-growing rentals, has been the main reason for the decrease in the value added of real estate activities.

Growth of the value added of economic activities, 4th quarter 2011

Diagram: Growth of the value added of economic activities, 4th quarter 2011

Domestic demand increased by 8% in the 4th quarter, boosted mainly by the fast growth of gross fixed capital formation. Gross fixed capital formation grew by 34%, primarily due to business-sector investments in machinery and equipment and in buildings and structures. Household final consumption expenditures increased by 5%. Increase in the purchase of vehicles, consumption of catering and telephone services and purchase of alcoholic beverages contributed the most to the growth of household final consumption expenditures. The growth of domestic demand was inhibited by the decrease in inventories of goods and materials of the business sector.

In the 4th quarter, the export growth of goods and services decelerated to 10%, with the export growth of goods also decelerating to 10%. Such deceleration of export considerably inhibited GDP growth. Import of goods and services increased by 13%, with import of goods growing by 12% and import of services by 19%. Before the 4th quarter 2011, Estonian foreign trade was mainly influenced by the fast growth of the import and export of computers, electronic and optical products, while in the 4th quarter the growth of these goods was replaced by a decrease and other machinery and equipment had the biggest contribution. The import of services was influenced the most by the fast growth of goods transportation services by sea transport. The share of net exports in the GDP increased to 4.5%.

Source: Statistics Estonia

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