Finnish company is Estonia’s largest private forest owner

The Estonian arm of Tornator Oyj, the third largest wood production company in Finland, recently purchased 13,000 hectares of woodland in Estonia, making it the largest private forest owner in the country.

Tornator now owns over 40,000 hectares of land, although a pale shadow of the close to 600,000 hectares of woodland owned in Finland.

The company grows and manages forests selling the timber or timber rights to logging companies. It registered 1.5 million euros in sales last year.

Estonia is rich in forests – they cover almost half of the country’s territory. The largest forests can be found in the North East and Central Estonia and they stretch from the north coast to the Latvian border. About 10 per cent of Estonia is a nature reserve.

Source: ERR News

The Dwelling Price Index changed by 13.2 pct compared to last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 3rd quarter of 2014, the Dwelling Price Index changed by 4.1% compared to the 2nd quarter and by 13.2% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013.

Compared to the previous quarter, the prices of apartments increased by 3.6% and the prices of houses by 5.4%.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013, the prices of apartments have increased by 15.3% and the prices of houses by 7.9%. The prices of apartments increased in all three areas under observation: by 15.6% in Tallinn, by 12.8% in areas bordering Tallinn with Tartu and Pärnu cities and by 19.6% in the rest of Estonia.

Compared to the 2nd quarter, the price index of apartments increased by 4.7% in Tallinn, by 1.3% in areas bordering Tallinn with Tartu and Pärnu cities and by 2.7% in the rest of Estonia.

The Dwelling Price Index expresses the changes in the square metre prices of dwellings purchased by households. The Dwelling Price Indices have been compiled for apartments and houses (including detached, semi-detached and terraced houses).

In the 3rd quarter of 2014, the Owner-Occupied Housing Price Index changed by 9% compared to the 2nd quarter and by 13% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013.

The Owner-Occupied Housing Price Index expresses the changes in the prices of the acquisition of dwellings new to the household sector and other goods and services that households purchase in their role as owner-occupiers. The index consists of four parts: acquisition of dwellings, other services related to the acquisition of dwellings, major repairs and maintenance, and insurance connected with dwellings.

The Owner-Occupied Housing Price Index is published on the base 2010 = 100. The time series starts from the first quarter of 2005; major repairs and maintenance are included from the first quarter of 2007 and insurance connected with dwellings is included from the first quarter of 2012. The annual index is calculated as the average of four quarters.

Source: Statistics Estonia

EIB provides 200 mEUR to support strategic investments in Estonia

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is establishing a new EUR 200 million loan facility for Estonia to support investments in research and innovation, sustainable transport infrastructure and the development of SMEs. The EIB loan will help Estonia to successfully absorb EU structural funds over the period 2014 – 2020.

“There’s no doubt that EU structural funds have already had a positive impact on the Estonian economy. We must continue to take advantage of these funds in the coming years” said Maris Lauri, the Finance Minister of Estonia, after signing the loan agreement with the EIB. She added: “Our aim is to take a long-term view and invest in building human capital and developing high value-added businesses. But these long-term investments require a lot of capital, even with the availability of EU funds, and that is why we value the on-going support of the EIB in providing long-term financing for projects that will improve Estonia’s competitiveness internationally, in turn creating more and better jobs.”

Pim van Ballekom, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Estonia, said: “With this support for key investments, the EIB is stepping up its efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of the Estonian economy and promote the effective use of the EU grant funds earmarked for Estonia. We are building on the excellent cooperation with the Estonian authorities and joining forces with the European Commission to support a large number of projects contributing to sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for the people of Estonia.”

The EUR 200 million loan will be available as co-financing for selected projects under the Estonian operational programme for the Cohesion Policy Funds and the Rural Development Programme for 2014 – 2020. The EU structural funds will meet a fixed percentage of the costs of eligible projects, with the remaining part being covered from the State budget or by drawing on this EIB facility.  The loan will primarily support projects in the following sectors: research, technological development and innovation; transport, water and environmental protection; and infrastructure development in rural areas. The facility will furthermore focus on investments in education, and health-care, as well as improving training and access to employment. These investments will contribute to the further development of a knowledge-intensive and internationally competitive economy, a clean environment and sustainable transport infrastructure, which in turn will help to create the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This loan is a continuation of the sound partnership between the EIB and Estonia, with the Bank of the European Union having already lent EUR 550m under a similar EU funds co-financing facility covering the period from 2007 up to 2013. To obtain an EU grant for an eligible project, the government must provide the co-funding. While the co-funding will largely be provided from budget funds, the EIB facility will be available to supplement these funds and to ensure that Estonia uses as much of the available EU funding as it can.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In 2009-2013, the EIB provided loans in Estonia totalling EUR 1.37bn.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

Over half of GDP is created in Harju County

According to the flash estimates of Statistics Estonia, Harju county accounted for 61.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia in 2013.

In 2013, the GDP of Estonia at current prices was 18.7 billion euros, of which the share of Harju county was 11.5 billion euros and that of Tallinn 9.3 billion Euros. Harju county was followed by Tartu and Ida-Viru counties, the shares of which in the GDP of Estonia were 10% and 7.6%, respectively.

Harju, Tartu and Ida-Viru counties gave a total of 84% of the value added in services and almost three-quarters of the value added in industry and construction.

The counties which contributed the least to the total GDP of Estonia were Hiiu, Lääne and Põlva. The total share of these counties in the GDP of Estonia accounted for 2.5%.

In 2013, 67% of the total value added of Estonia was created in services, 29% in industry and construction and 4% in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The service sector was the biggest sector in all counties besides Ida-Viru county. The share of services was the largest in Harju (75%) and Tartu (69%) counties, mainly due to the high input of the cities of Tallinn and Tartu.

The share of agriculture, forestry and fishing was the biggest in Jõgeva county (22%). The share of industry and construction was the largest in Ida-Viru county (53%), which shows the important role of mining and energy in this county’s economic activity.

In 2013, Estonia’s GDP per capita was 14,218 euros. Compared to 2012, this indicator has risen by 884 euros. In 2013, the GDP per capita was the highest in Harju county, exceeding Estonia’s average by 42%. Harju county was followed by Tartu and Lääne-Viru counties, where the GDP per capita was 86% and 73% of the Estonian average, respectively. The indicator was the lowest in Põlva county, where the GDP per capita was less than a half of the Estonian average.

GDP per capita, 2013

Diagram: GDP per capita, 2013

Statistics Estonia revised the regional accounts time series for 2000–2012 according to the new European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010). The main change for the regional GDP was the calculation of local kind-of-activity units.

For additional information about the revision of the GDP time series published on 8 September is available HERE.

Impact of the time series revision by region, 2009–2012 (percentages)
Aasta Põhja-Eesti Lääne-Eesti Kirde-Eesti Kesk-Eesti Lõuna-Eesti Kokku
2009 1,1 4,1 2,2 1,7 -0,2 1,2
2010 2,2 5,6 2,2 0,9 2,1 2,4
2011 1,0 0,6 1,9 1,9 1,2 1,2
2012 2,6 -1,0 -6,6 2,0 1,0 1,3

Industry and construction – mining and quarrying; manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities; construction.

Services – wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; transportation and storage; accommodation and food service activities; information and communication; financial and insurance activities; real estate activities; professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities; public administration and defence; compulsory social security; education; human health and social work activities; arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonia’s 2016-2030 oil shale development plan

The draft of the Estonian national oil shale development plan for 2016-2030 says oil shale mining in Estonia will remain capped at 20 million tons per year and it will be necessary to set up one or two new mines during the years covered by the development plan.

The list of mineral deposits in the Estonian Environment Register shows the size of oil shale stocks at 4.75 billion tons of which active stocks amount to 1.34 billion tons. Leaving aside areas currently covered by restrictions, active stocks will suffice for roughly 48 years if the annual extraction limit is left at 20 million tons, the Environment Ministry said.

The development plan names effective and sustainable use of oil shale as a mineral deposit important for Estonia and reducing the sector’s environmental impact as paramount. Another objective set out in the development plan is ensuring the oil shale sector’s sustainable development and supply of oil shale considering economic, security and social goals, the ministry said.

Implementation of the development plan is estimated to cost 20 million euros. It will be implemented based on an operational program that will be initially drafted for the years 2016–2019. The estimated cost of its measures is 3.5 million euros. Performance against the goals of the development plan will be analyzed after each five-year period to take account of changes in technologies, market situation, environmental requirements and the revealed environmental impact.

Source: Baltic News Service through Estonian Review

Estonia’s fishing quota for NW, NE Atlantic grows by 200 tons

The permitted total amount of catches of Estonian fishers in Northwestern and Northeastern Atlantic in 2015 will be 200 tons bigger than this year, according to a decision adopted at a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

The most important for the Estonian fishery sector are catches of redfish, lesser halibut, shrimp, skate and cod in Northwestern and Northeastern Atlantic. Of these species Estonian fishers will be able to catch approximately 3,300 tons, almost 200 tons more than this year, Kaire Martin, head of the department for fish stocks at the Estonian Ministry of Environment, said in a press release.

Since fish stocks in Northwestern Atlantic are recovering, target fishing of flounder was re-opened after a break of almost 20 years. The quota for that species is 1,000 tons, most of which belongs to Canada and Russia. Of EU member states only Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were assigned a part of the quota — 44 tons each.

The redfish quota for Estonia in Northwestern Atlantic next year is 2,085 tons, 168 tons more than this year. The quota for lesser halibut increased slightly to 313 tons, whereas the quotas for squid and skate were left unchanged at 128 and 283 tons.

In Northeastern Atlantic Estonian fishers mainly catch shrimp in international waters in the Barents Sea and off Greenland. No quota applies to shrimp fishing in the Barents Sea.

As far as other species go, Estonia was assigned a quota for mackerel in the amount of 262 tons, a quota for redfish in Irminger Sea in the amount of 44 tons, as well as by-catch quotas for lesser halibut, skate and blue ling.

An opportunity to harvest redfish in the Norwegian Sea will open up for Estonia next year provided that an international agreement is signed with countries of Northeastern Atlantic. Negotiations are set to start in the first quarter of next year.

Source: Baltic News Service through Estonian Review

Estonian immigration quota for 2015 is 1,322 people

The Estonian Government on Thursday set an immigration quota for non-EU nationals wanting to reside in Estonia.

According to the decision, up to 1,322 people who are not citizens of the European Union will be allowed to apply for a temporary residence permit. The number represents 0.1% of the Estonian population.

Compared to previous years, there has been an increase: in 2014 and 2013, respectively 996 and 1,000 non-EU citizens were allowed to settle in Estonia. The Government said that the quota was raised due to an increased appeal of Estonia as a place to work and live.

According to the current law, the immigration quota of Estonia shall not exceed 0,1% of Estonian permanent population in one year. The quota does not apply to the citizens of the United States and Japan, and for those who want to come to Estonia for the purpose of making a research or study.

Temporary residence permits are issued for up to 5 years.

Source: ERR