The economy grew in the 1st quarter

According to the second estimates of Statistics Estonia, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia increased 1.1% in the 1st quarter of 2015 compared to the 1st quarter of the previous year.

In the 1st quarter, the GDP at current prices was 4.7 billion euros. The seasonally and working-day adjusted GDP fell 0.3% compared to the 4th quarter of 2014 and rose 1.7% compared to the 1st quarter of 2014.

In the 1st quarter of 2015, the GDP was driven the most by a rise in value added in manufacturing, which was mainly due to the increased manufacture of electronic products and products of wood. At the same time, the growth of manufacturing was substantially negatively influenced by the decrease in the manufacture of food and paper products. Manufacturing, which is the largest economic activity in Estonia, was the biggest contributor to the GDP growth for the third quarter in a row.

In the 1st quarter of 2015, similarly to the previous quarter, the Estonian economy was inhibited the most by the decrease in value added in transport. The earlier decline was mainly due to the decline in warehousing and support activities for transportation. This time, the decrease was mainly caused by the decline in land transport.

Real GDP grew slower than the number of persons employed and hours worked (which grew 3.6% and 4.5%, respectively). Therefore, labour productivity per employee and per hour worked decreased for the second quarter in a row.

The labour costs for GDP production have increased. In the 1st quarter of 2015, unit labour costs increased 7% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Consequently, compensation per employee has grown substantially faster than productivity.

The exports of goods of both manufacturing and the total economy increased in the 1st quarter of 2015 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The exports of goods and services increased for the fourth quarter in a row, being influenced the most by the increase in the export of electronic products, coke and refined petroleum products and by the decrease in the export of other machinery and food products. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the import of goods and services decreased by 2.9% at real prices. Net export (i.e. the difference between export and import) was positive in the 1st quarter of 2015, amounting to 3.3% of the GDP.

Estonia’s economy was positively influenced by external demand and negatively influenced by domestic demand. Domestic demand decreased 1.6% at real prices, mainly due to the gross fixed capital formation and changes in inventories. In the 1st quarter, gross fixed capital formation decreased 7.7% at real prices, mainly due to the decline in the investments of non-financial corporations in machinery and equipment and in transport equipment. The remaining components of domestic demand contributed positively to economic growth.

Diagram: Real growth of the GDP and domestic demand compared to the same period of the previous year

Since the implementation of the ESA 2010 methodology in September 2014, Statistics Estonia and Eesti Pank harmonised their revision policy of national accounts and balance of payments estimates. In conjunction with the publication of the estimates for the 1st quarter of 2015, the estimates for the 4th quarter of 2014 were also revised. Compared to the indicators published on 11 March 2015, Statistics Estonia revised the real growth of the GDP in the 4th quarter of 2014 downwards by 0.01 percentage points.

On 8 September 2015, Statistics Estonia will release the regular revision for 2011–2014 based on supply and use tables and annual business reports. The updated data for the 1st quarter of 2015 will be published on the same date. In addition, the time series for 1st quarter 1995 – 4th quarter 1999 revised according to ESA 2010 will be published for the first time.

Source: Statistics Estonia
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