Financial authority to close Danske Estonia branch

ERR has learned that the Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) has issued a precept which requires the Estonian branch of Danske Bank to close.

The Tallinn branch of Danske, a Danish-owned bank, has been at the centre of a money laundering scandal. Around €200 billion in potentially illicit funds, principally from the Russian Federation and other former Soviet nations, is thought to have passed through the branch between 2007 and 2015.

The story came to light through the course of 2018, causing Danske chief Thomas Borgen to resign, and the arrest of 10 Danske Estonia employees and former employees.

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Cruise tourist spends an average 80 eur in Tallinn

Over 645,000 cruise passengers visited Tallinn in 2018, spending an average €80 per person in the capital, a study carried out by Cruise Baltic suggests. The sum total spent by all cruise tourists combined in Tallinn last year was over €50 million, contributing to the employment of hundreds of people.

Passengers and cruise ship crews combined spent over €430 million in the Baltic Sea region last year. Transit passengers on one-day visits were the ones to generate the most revenue to local businesses and cultural institutions, the Baltic News Service wrote on Friday.

In Tallinn alone, tourism means employment for some 200 tour guides and 400 bus drivers. Cruise passengers also visit local sights, museums and various shows, which in turn employ several hundred more.

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Estonian tax inflow in 2018

While the inflow of tax money into the Estonian state budget in 2018 was consistent with the Ministry of Finance’s expectations, receipts of excise duty on alcohol, tobacco and fuel, meanwhile, remained below the budgeted amount.

The sum total of tax receipts in 2018 exceeded the budgeted amount by 0.4%, growing 8.7% compared to the previous year.

The inflow of social tax amounted to €3.06 billion in 2018, exceeding the budgeted amount by 3.9%. The €115 million surplus is attributable primarily to growth in employment and average wages, which was swifter than projected.

Personal income tax was paid in the amount of €311.1 million, exceeding the budgeted amount by 66.2% and marking a surplus of €124 million.

Corporate income tax was paid in the amount of €517.9 million, accounting for 91.7% of the budgeted amount.

€2.33 billion, or 99.8% of the budgeted amount, was received in VAT, marking a 8.5% increase compared to the previous year.

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295,000 Estonian residents lived at risk of poverty last year

According to Statistics Estonia, 22.6% of the Estonian population lived at risk of poverty in 2017.  The percentage of people at risk of poverty increased 1.6 percentage points compared to the previous year.

The increase in the at-risk-of-poverty rate was due to that the income of persons who had previously earned slightly higher income than the risk-of-poverty threshold, increased at a slower rate than the risk-of-poverty threshold and in 2017 remained below the risk-of-poverty threshold.

In 2017, a person was considered to be at risk of poverty if his/her equivalised monthly disposable income was smaller than 523 euros (469 euros in 2016) and in absolute poverty if his/her equivalised monthly disposable income was smaller than 207 euros (200 euros in 2016).

In 2017, 3.4% of the Estonian population, i.e. 44,000 people, were living in absolute poverty, which is 0.2 percentage points more than in 2016.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate anchored at a fixed moment in time, i.e. the share of people with an equivalised yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of-poverty threshold three years ago adjusted for inflation, has decreased from 12.8% to 12.2% over the year.

Social transfers (state benefits and pensions) helped to prevent falling into poverty, as had they not been included in income, 38.5% of the population would have been at risk of poverty (39.2% a year before) and 22.8% in absolute poverty (24.6% a year before).

Compared to 2016, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has decreased both among children and among young people, but has increased among older people. In 2017, 47.5% of persons aged 65 and over were living at risk of poverty (41.2% in 2016). Among children under 18, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was 15.9%, i.e. 0.6 percentage points lower than in the previous year. The absolute poverty rate of children fell as well – from 3.5% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017.

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with equivalised yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of poverty threshold. The at-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the median equivalised yearly disposable income of household members. Equivalised disposable income is the total household income, which is divided by the sum of equivalence scales of all household members.

The estimations are based on the Estonian Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. Nearly 6,100 households participated in the survey in 2018. The survey collects data about the yearly income, which is why the survey of 2018 asked about the income of 2017. The yearly income is necessary for calculating the indicators of poverty and inequality. The social survey is conducted by statistical organisations in all European Union countries on the basis of a harmonised methodology by the name of EU-SILC. For the statistical activity “Estonian Social Survey”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Source: Statistics Estonia

The population of Estonia is 1,3 million people

According to Statistics Estonia, the preliminary estimate of the population of Estonia as at 1 January 2019 was 1,323,820, which is 4,690 persons more than at the same time a year ago.

The population decreased by 1,400 due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeded the number of births) and increased by 6,090 due to positive net migration (more persons immigrated to Estonia than emigrated). In total, the population of Estonia increased by nearly 0.4% in 2018.

More than 14,270 children were born in Estonia in 2018, which is 500 children more than the year before. An increase in the number of births in a situation where the number of women exiting active childbearing age (20–44) is larger than the number of women entering it indicates an increase in fertility rates.

In the case of births, also the number of births per woman can be considered. As there are more women in the second half of their active childbearing age than in the first half, the number of births of first children and its share in the total number of births has declined already for some time.

The birth of third and additional children is required for the natural recovery of the population; however, from the third child, the economic setback of families is greater than in the case of the first two children, and, in order to avoid this situation, some children may not be born. In the period of re-independence, fertility in Estonia has been significantly lower than the replacement level. In recent years, however, the state has considerably raised the allowances for families with three and more children to support births. This has contributed to an increase in the number of births of third children – in 2018, compared to 2017, the number of third children born increased by more than 500, which signifies an increase of more than 20%. Third children accounted for a fifth of all children born in 2018.

There were 15,670 deaths in 2018. The number of deaths has remained in the range of 15,200–15,800 in recent years. As life expectancy continues to increase, the share of older people increases in the population.

13,030 persons immigrated to Estonia and 6,940 persons emigrated from Estonia in 2018. Migration statistics are most difficult to estimate based on preliminary data, as Statistics Estonia supplements migration figures with data from other registers, and later adds also unregistered migration according to the rules for determining permanent residents (residency index). Reaching the final result is more complicated compared to other events, both technically and methodologically, and can significantly increase migration flows. Emigration increases mainly due to unregistered leaving of Estonian citizens. Immigration increases mainly due to their return migration, which is not recorded in the population register, as the prior leaving was not registered. Compared to immigration, emigration is less registered, and therefore, emigration increases presumably more than immigration in the revised population number – it can be assumed that net migration is somewhat smaller in the results published in May.

For the statistical activity “Population”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Social Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting the statistical activity.

Milk production increased year-on-year

According to the preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, the production of milk amounted to 807,500 tonnes in 2018, which is 2% more than the year before. The number of dairy cows decreased by the end of the year, but the average milk yield per cow increased.

On 31 December 2018, the number of cattle in Estonia was 255,100, of which 85,200 were dairy cows. Compared to the same time in 2017, the number of cattle increased by 1.5%, while the number of dairy cows decreased by 1.4%. Although the number of dairy cows declined, the average milk yield per cow continues to grow. In 2018, the average milk yield per cow was 9,326 kilograms, i.e. 167 kilograms more than in 2017.

At the end of 2018, there were 290,500 pigs and 78,300 sheep and goats in Estonia.

The number of pigs increased by 2%, and the number of sheep and goats decreased by 10% year-on-year. At the end of the year, there were 2.1 million poultry, which is 3% less than at the end of 2017.

In 2018, the production of eggs amounted to 206.6 million, which is 2% more than the year before.

112,900 tonnes (live weight) of livestock and poultry were sold for slaughter (incl. export) and slaughtered in holdings. The production of meat (live weight) increased by 6% year-on-year. The production of mutton and goat meat increased by 26%, the production of beef by 12% and the production of pork by 7%. Poultry meat production remained at the same level as in year 2017.

The statistics are based on the data of the register of farm animals of the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB) and on the data of Estonian Livestock Performance Recording Ltd, which by using models have been converted to the format necessary for producing statistics. In addition, the data of statistical questionnaires “Poultry. Quarter” and “Pigs. Quarter” have been used, the deadline of which was 8 January 2018. Statistics Estonia published the preliminary yearly summary of livestock farming in 12 working days. For the statistical activity “Livestock farming and meat production”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Rural Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting this statistical activity.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Cereal yield decreased by a third

According to Statistics Estonia, the average yield of cereals was 2,625 kilograms per hectare in 2018. This is a third less than in 2017.

The total production of cereals in 2018 was 919,828 tonnes, which is 29.9% less than the year before. 450,265 tonnes of the production of cereals was wheat, 347,497 tonnes was barley and 29,511 tonnes was rye. The average yield per hectare was 2,913 kilograms for wheat, 2,509 kilograms for barley and 2,719 kilograms for rye.

In 2018, the sown area of cereals was larger than the year before. Cereals were grown on a total of 350,433 hectares, which is 6% more than in the preceding year. The sown area of wheat was 154,579 hectares – 8.9% less than in 2017. The sown area of barley increased by 35.1% and amounted to 138,485 hectares. The sown area of rye decreased by 18.5% compared to the preceding year and was 10,854 hectares.

The production of dry pulses was 70,966 tonnes, which is 5.8% less than in 2017. The average yield was 1,516 kilograms of dry pulses per hectare. Dry pulses were sown on 46,805 hectares, which is 28.6% less than in 2017. The sown area of dry pulses increased continuously over the past decade and decreased for the first time in 2018.

The production of rape and turnip rape seed was 113,595 tonnes. In 2018, rape and turnip rape were sown on 72,683 hectares. The average yield was 1,563 kilograms of rape and turnip rape seed per hectare. This means that the average yield of rape and turnip rape seed per hectare was also almost a third smaller compared to the preceding year.

In 2018, the production of potatoes was 88,434 tonnes, which is 3% less than the year before. The sown area of potatoes totalled 5,205 hectares. The average yield of potatoes was 16,990 kilograms per hectare.

The statistics are based on the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB) land use data and statistical questionnaire “Crop production”, the deadline of which was 1 November 2018. Statistics Estonia published the yearly summary of the data in 56 working days. For the statistical activity “Crop production”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Rural Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting this statistical activity.

Source: Statistics Estonia