Prisoners file compensation claims against the state

The recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights which found that lack of prisoner space in Tallinn Prison amounts to inhuman treatment has triggered similar claims from several prisoners, writes Postimees.

Eleven inmates held in Tallinn Prison have now sued the Estonian state claiming compensation for their „inhuman treatment,” saying that the ratio of prison cells per prisoner is below the statutory limit.

Read more from BBN

The profit of the business sector increased in Q1

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 1st quarter of 2014, the total profit of the business sector was 705 million euros, which was 10% more than in the same period a year ago.

Compared to the 1st quarter of 2013, total profit increased in almost all economic activities.

The biggest contribution to the growth in profit was made by information and communication, agriculture and professional, scientific and technical activities. The growth in the profit of the business sector was negatively influenced mostly by construction, transportation and storage and real estate activities. The profit of manufacturing, which holds the largest share in the total profit of the business sector, increased 2%, mainly due to the increase in profits in the manufacture of food and in the export-oriented manufacture of wood and metal products.

In the 1st quarter of 2014, enterprises sold goods and services for 11.8 billion euros, which was 2% less than in the same period a year ago. The turnover of trade and manufacturing enterprises, which have the biggest share in the total turnover of the business sector, increased 1%. The biggest increase (by a third) occurred in the turnover of enterprises specialising in the repair of computers and personal and household goods.

Compared to the 1st quarter of 2013, the total costs of enterprises decreased 3%. Personnel expenses increased 8%. The number of persons employed and the number of hours worked increased 1% and 4%, respectively. The labour productivity of the business sector on the basis of the value added amounted to an average of 5,200 euros per person employed in a quarter and was 7% higher than in the 1st quarter of 2013.

In the 1st quarter of 2014, enterprises invested 537 million euros, which was 3% more than in the same period the year before. The largest investments were made mainly in equipment and machinery, vehicles and buildings. The main investors were energy, transportation and storage and agricultural enterprises with more than a half of the total investments of enterprises. Compared to the 1st quarter of 2013, investments in equipment and machinery, in vehicles and in the acquisition of buildings increased. Other investments decreased, with investments in land declining the most.

Total profit of the business sector, 1st quarter 2010 – 1st quarter 2014

Diagram: Total profit of the business sector, 1st quarter 2010 – 1st quarter 2014

 

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonia’s construction sector feeling gloomy

Construction volumes will decrease in 2014
In 2014, construction volumes are expected to fall in Estonia. Current order books are below average, and employment in the sector is expected to decline. Residential construction will continue increasing at recent volumes, whereas non-residential construction and civil engineering works will decline. An increased supply of new or recently renovated apartments will, it is hoped, cool down the prices of real estate. 

Construction prices will stay at around last year’s level
Lower construction volumes and intensified competition will put pressure on construction prices. Maintaining last year’s profitability will be difficult in 2014. Mostly due to a fast increase in wages, construction prices are already above their pre-crisis peak in Estonia. 

Estonia has done better than its neighbours
Construction volumes and prices have increased more in Estonia than in other Baltic or Nordic countries since the last slump in 2009-2010. Public sector orders supported larger construction volumes in Estonia in 2011-2012. In 2013 and 2014, the share of the private sector in enterprises’ order books has increased, while the volume of public procurement projects has declined, mostly due to a gap between the two EU funding periods.

Source: Swedbank

Read more here