Estonian economy grew in the 1st quarter

According to the revised estimates of Statistics Estonia, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia increased 1.7% in the 1st quarter of 2016 compared to the 1st quarter of the previous year.

In the 1st quarter GDP at current prices was 4.9 billion euros. The seasonally and working-day adjusted GDP did not change compared to the 4th quarter of 2015 and grew by 1.8% compared to the 1st quarter of 2015.

The economic growth was driven by the increase in the receipts of net taxes on products, which was influenced by the increase in alcohol and fuel excises. As the rise in the excise rates was shifted one month forward, the proceeds from excises shifted from the end of the previous year to the 1st quarter of 2016.

In the 1st quarter of 2016, the GDP was driven the most by a rise in value added in trade due to wholesale and retail trade. At the same time, the Estonian economy was inhibited the most by a decrease in value added in energy.

Real GDP grew faster than the number of persons employed and hours worked. The number of persons employed grew 0.9% and the number of hours worked decreased by 0.1%. Therefore, labour productivity both per employee and per hour worked increased. The labour costs for GDP production have increased. In the 1st quarter of 2016, unit labour costs increased 2.9% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Consequently, compensation per employee has grown faster than productivity.

The exports of goods and services of the total economy decreased in the 1st quarter of 2016 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The exports of goods and services decreased for the fourth quarter in a row, being influenced the most by a decrease in the export of electrical equipment and mineral products (incl. motor spirit, fuel oils, gas).  Although the exports of goods and services decreased, the exports of other machinery and equipment positively contributed to foreign trade.

After a 4-month decrease,  the import of goods and services increased by 2.6% at real prices due to the growth in the imports of other machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and mineral products (incl. motor spirit, fuel oils, gas). Net export (i.e. the difference between export and import) was positive in the 1st quarter of 2016, amounting to 0.6% of the GDP.

Estonia’s economy was positively influenced by domestic demand. Domestic demand increased 3.0% at real prices, mainly due to household final consumption expenditures. Also, non-profit institution and government final consumption expenditures increased, but their growth slowed down.

Household final consumption expenditure increased 5.5%. The expenditures on housing, recreation, culture and catering increased the most.  The gross fixed capital formation decreased 5.8% in real terms. It was mainly influenced by a decrease in investments in buildings and structures by non-financial corporations and government sector.Diagram: The real growth of GDP and domestic demand

On 8 September 2016, Statistics Estonia will release the regular revision for 2012–2015 based on supply and use tables and annual business reports. The updated data for the 1st quarter of 2016 will be published on the same date.

Source: Statistics Estonia

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