Minifacts about Estonia 2012

Statistics Estonia has published a book about Estonia, which can be read online for FREE.

The pocket-sized reference book provides a short overview on Estonian society based on essential statistical indicators and their development during the recent years. Includes statistics on environment, population, health and social protection, education, culture, wages and salaries, consumption, prices and price indices, national accounts, finance, industry, agriculture, housing, trade, transport and communications, tourism, etc. Estonia has been compared with other countries of the European Union. Geographical data on Estonia, data on governmental system and essential web sites on Estonia have also been added. The information has been presented in texts, tables and diagrams. The publication has been compiled in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.

See “Minifacts about Estonia 2012

Swedbank nets 52.2 MEUR in Estonia in Q1

The Estonian unit of Swedbank earned a profit of 52.2 million euros in the first quarter of this year compared to the year-earlier 44.6 million euros.

The improved result was due to the reduction of loan loss provisions by 8.8 million euros during the period, the bank said. The Estonian operation’s revenues declined by 4 percent year-on-year mostly on account of a drop in net interest income. The bank’s revenues in Estonia were 69.9 million euros compared to 73.1 million euros a year earlier.

Both the economic environment as a whole and the bank’s financial results were in the first quarter influenced the most by the drop in euro base interest rates, director general of Swedbank Estonia Priit Perens said.

The Estonian unit’s net interest income decreased by 9 percent in annual comparison to 47.1 million euros owing to the drop in market base interest rates and the continued amortization of the loan portfolio which exceeded the positive impact of the deposit volume.

The unit’s net commission income decreased by 4 percent to 14.2 million euros mostly on account of smaller income from card and securities transactions. Financial income at the same time soared 59 percent to 2.2 million euros.

Swedbank Estonia’s expenses decreased by 10 percent year-on-year to 26.6 million euros, influenced mainly by declining IT and other expenses. Personnel expenses grew by 1 percent to 7.9 million euros while other expenses decreased by a fifth to 17.2 million euros. The number of employees was 1,476 compared to 1,431 in the first quarter of 2011.

The loan portfolio decreased by 6 percent compared to March 31, 2011 and by 1 percent compared to the preceding quarter. The decrease was mainly due to corporate loans but at the same time new lending grew the fastest in this segment during the first quarter.

The volume of deposits increased by 8 percent year-on-year but showed a decline of 1.8 percent compared to the end of 2011. Swedbank Estonia’s share of the deposit market was 45.2 percent at the end of February compared to 46.2 percent at the end of last year. The loan to deposit ratio was 118 percent compared to 117 percent at the end of 2011.

The amount of problem loans continued decreasing in the first quarter, dropping to 379 million euros by the end of March from the year-earlier 504 million euros. The bank said the improvement was due to improved ratings, better quality of new sales and writing off of nonperforming loans.

Source: Estonian Review

Oldest written documents in Estonia uploaded

A project to digitize the oldest parchment documents in the country is now complete.The State Archives, Tallinn City Archive and History Museum led the effort, which started in 2010.

The documents contain information valuable to studying the history of settlement and agriculture in medieval and post-Renaissance Estonia as well as political, military and cultural history, said the institutions.

The oldest written historical sources are on parchment and date from the 13th century, the oldest one of all from 1237: in it, papal legate William of Modena communicates a decree from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II regarding donations to the church. The original document is in the the Tallinn City Archive’s magistrate’s collection.

From the same era is the oldest record in the State Archives, from 1240, and, from the Estonian History Museum, an indulgence from Pope Innocent IV from 1247.

The latest parchment documents are from the mid-19th century, but the majority are from the 14th to the 16th century.

The digitization involved making copies of the recto and verso sides of 4,122 archive pages. The digital copies are life-size. The work was funded via the Economic Affairs Ministry from EU structural assistance for promoting information society.

The digitized parchment documents are available for public use at

Source: Estonian Review

Finnish tourist spending hits new record

Rising prices in their home country have been pushing more Finnish tourists to head south in search of bargains, spending a record 462 million euros in Estonia last year, according to data from the Federation of Finnish Commerce.

The figure marks a 19 percent increase from the year prior, the federation said in a release.

“Finns’ price awareness has clearly increased over the past two years and this will raise the level of enthusiasm for travel to Estonia. And the eagerness doesn’t seem to be letting up – travel to Estonia is still growing,” said the organization’s chief economist Jaana Kurjenoja.

Survey data shows that 64 percent of Finns are planning a trip to Estonia this year, compared to 52 percent last year. Of those who are going, more than half said prices were their main motivation..

The stereotype of Finns coming to Estonia to buy cheap booze is certainly supported by poll numbers – 84 percent of the adult population of southern Finland said they imported alcohol from Estonia over the past year. 

Kurjenoja pointed out, however, that Finns in the Helsinki region are increasingly coming to Estonia as an alternative to heading to their local shops and beauty salons, with sweets, clothing, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals among the more popular purchases.

Source: Estonian Review

Corporate foreign debt increased 16% in 2011

The annual growth of corporate debt accelerated to 1.7% by end-2011. While repaying their debts to domestic financial institutions, companies actively borrowed from abroad. The volume of foreign debt increased by 16% within the year, accounting for 34% of corporate debt by end-2011. Corporate financial assets grew 3.4%, year-on-year. The largest contributor to the growth was the increase in  the value of shares and other equity. In addition, deposits and cash held by companies increased by more than 5% compared to end-2010.

Saving has notably improved the financial standing of households. In 2011, their deposits and cash holdings increased by 665 million euro (nearly 18%). At the same time, households borrowed rather cautiously, so their debt decreased by 2.4%, year-on-year. Household indebtedness (the ratio of debt to GDP) declined to 48% by end-2011. Compared to the peak two years ago, the indebtedness shrank by 11 pp and reached the level of the start of 2008.

Estonia’s total economy has been a net lender vis-a-vis the rest of the world for the past three years. In the last quarter of 2011, the net lending amounted to 368 million euros, which is the highest level since the start of 2004. This was mainly due to the more prudent financial behaviour of households. The financial corporations’ net lending  includes returning loan resources to parent banks and accumulating liquid assets placed abroad. The general government was a net borrower in the fourth quarter, since its bank deposits and foreign bond investments decreased.} 


Figure 1. Corporate sector foreign debt and its share in corporate total debt


Figure 2. Net lending (+) and net borrowing (-) in the total economy over the quarter and the contribution of sectors to net lending

Net lending (+) and net borrowing (-) is the difference between transactions in financial assets and liabilities over the period.The net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) of the total economy shows whether the country as a whole has included external funds or allocated them abroad.

NPISHs — non-profit institutions serving households

Financial account statistics is available on the web page of Eesti Pank

Author:  Jana Kask, Head of the Financial Sector Policy Division of Eesti Pank

 Source: Bank of Estonia

Construction price index increased 1stQ

According to Statistics Estonia, the percentage change of the construction price index was 0.4% in the 1st quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter, and 5.0% compared to the 1st quarter of 2011.

In the 1st quarter compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the construction price index was primarily influenced by more expensive building materials and by the increase in the labour costs, which gave correspondingly more than a half and over a third of the total increase of the index.

In the 1st quarter compared to the previous quarter, the labour costs decreased by 3.3%, costs on building machines increased by 2.2% and on building materials by 1.7%.

In the 1st quarter of 2012, the percentage change of the repair and reconstruction work price index was 0.1% compared to the 4th quarter of 2011 and 5.8 % compared to the 1st quarter of 2011.

The calculation of the construction price index covers four groups of buildings – detached houses, blocks of flats, industrial buildings and office buildings, as well as office buildings covered by the repair and reconstruction work price index. The construction price index expresses the change in the expenditures on construction taking into consideration the price changes of basic inputs: labour force, building materials and building machines.

Change in the construction price index, 1st quarter 2012
  4th Q 2011 –
1st Q 2012, %
1st Q 2011 –
1st Q 2012, %
TOTAL 0.4 5.0
labour force -3.3 6.8
building machines 2.2 8.1
building materials 1.7 4.0
Index of detached houses -0.1 5.1
Index of blocks of flats 0.3 5.0
Index of industrial buildings 1.0 5.7
Index of office buildings 0.2 4.5


Change in the repair and reconstruction work price index, 1st quarter 2012
  4th Q 2011 –
1st Q 2012, %
1st Q 2011 –
1st Q 2012, %
TOTAL 0.1 5.8
labour force -3.7 6.9
building machines 7.5 14.0
building materials 1.5 4.6
Source: Statistics Estonia

Producer price indices increased in March

According to Statistics Estonia, in March 2012 the producer price index of industrial output increased by 0.2% compared to February and by 3.2% compared to March of the previous year.

In March compared to the previous month, the producer price index was more than average influenced by the increase in prices in the production of refined petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products and furniture and by the decrease in prices in the production of computer and electronic products.

Compared to March 2011, the index was more than average influenced by the increase in prices in the manufacture of food products and heat energy and by the decrease in prices in the production of electrical equipment.

Change in the producer price index of industrial output by economic activity, March 2012
Economic activity according

 to EMTAK 2008

Feb’12 –
Mar’12, %
Mar’11 –
Mar’12, %
TOTAL 0.2 3.2
Manufacturing 0.1 2.9
Mining 0.0 1.1
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 0.6 7.2
Water supply; sewerage; waste management and remediation activities 0.0 2.6

In March 2012 the export price index changed by 0.1% compared to February 2012 and by 3.0% compared to March 2011.

In March compared to the previous month, the prices of food products and petroleum products increased more than average, and the prices of agricultural products and electronic equipment decreased more than average.

In March 2012 the import price index changed by 1.2% compared to February 2012 and by 6.1% compared to March 2011.

In March compared to the previous month, the prices of mineral fuels, chemical and food products increased more than average and the prices of building materials and agricultural products decreased more than average.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Tallinn Airport to build new cheap flights terminal

The Estonian state-owned Tallinn Airport will next year will build an easily removable and extendable terminal for cheap flight airlines with parking space for five aircraft next to it.

Erik Sakkov, board member of Tallinn Airport, told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that the new terminal was intended for cheap flights airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet and Norwegian that do not want to pay that much to the airport and do not need many airport services.

Sakkov said that the present airport building had been intended for the service of up to 2.5 million passengers a year and this year the airport forecasts about 2.3 million visits, of which 200,000 are transit passengers. But the visitors will not be distributed equally during the day and at certain times there is too little room in the terminal already now.

The new terminal is intended for the service of one million passengers and the space liberated from cheap flight airlines would pass into the disposition of Estonian Air and other traditional airlines, such as Lufthansa, SAS, LOT and CSA.

Source: Estonian Review

Foreclosed property of Three Sisters hotel to be auctioned

Court bailiff is selling foreclosed property of the Three Sisters hotel in Tallinn Old Town in an auction, according to an announcement published on Friday.

The property is 705 square metres in size and the starting price at the auction is 393,000 euros.

The property has a two-million-euro mortgage for Tallinn Business Bank (Tallinna Äripäev), plus a 384,000-euro mortgage for Petramark OÜ and a 217,000-euro mortgage for the state.

At the start of April, the company owed 86,315 euros in tax.

The main owner of Three Sisters is Masle Onroerend B. V. and manager Johannes Hendrikus Wientjes.

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Estonia tightens relations with Brazil

At his meeting in Brazil with the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet expressed satisfaction that Estonia and Brazil are actively communicating in several areas. “The opening of the Brazilian embassy in Tallinn has further developed closer contacts and Estonia is also making preparations for opening an embassy in Brazil in the next few years,“ said Paet.

According to Paet, Brazil is Estonia’s most important trading partner in Latin America and the total amount of exchange of goods exceeded 44 million euro in 2011. “Estonia is interested in signing a double taxation treaty with Brazil and developing even closer trade relations with Brazil,” noted Paet.

At the meeting, the foreign ministers also talked about visa free travel to Brazil for Estonian nationals. According to Foreign Minister Patriota, the Congress of Brazil will ratify in the near future the visa waiver agreement made between the European Union and Brazil, which will allow Estonian nationals to enter Brazil without a visa.

Paet and Patriota discussed the Open Governance Partnership established on Brazil’s initiative at the meeting. Paet expressed his satisfaction that currently a high-level meeting discussing the topic of open governance partnership is being held in Brazil. “ The inclusion of Estonia’s e-government experience in the implementation of the open society principles has also attracted wider international attention,” said Paet. “We consider the Open Governance Partnership a good initiative through which Estonia can introduce its experience in countries that are about to create their own e-government,” he added.

The foreign ministers also spoke at the meeting about information technology related cooperation and possibilities to jointly consult other countries in the field of IT.

Source: Estonian Review