Biggest decrease in foreign trade in 11 years

According to Statistics Estonia, in April 2020, compared to April 2019, the exports of goods decreased by 17% and imports by 22%. The greater decrease in imports offset the balance of trade.

Estonia’s exports of goods amounted to 1.02 billion euros and imports to 1.09 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 61 million euros; it decreased by 89 million euros compared to April 2019.

According to Evelin Puura, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, the last time trade fell this much was 11 years ago, in 2009. “In April, trade decreased in most commodity sections, but exports and imports increased for products associated with COVID-19, such as disinfection products and pharmaceuticals,” explained Puura.

In April, the top destination country of Estonia’s exports was Finland, followed by Sweden and Latvia. The biggest decreases occurred in exports to the Netherlands (down by 35 million euros), Russia and Sweden (down by 32 million euros each). Compared to the previous year, shale oil was exported less to the Netherlands, mechanical appliances to Russia and electrical equipment to Sweden. Exports increased the most to Argentina, with more motor fuel dispatched.

The biggest exports from Estonia were electrical equipment, wood and articles of wood, and agricultural products and food preparations. The year-on-year decline in exports came mainly from mineral products (down by 63 million euros), transport equipment (down by 47 million euros) and electrical equipment (down by 31 million euros). Exports increased the most for raw materials and products of chemical industry (up by 12 million euros), with highest increases for disinfection products and nitrogenous fertilisers.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Passenger and goods transport through ports increased last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, compared to 2018, the number of passengers on main national ship lines increased by 4% and in international traffic by 0.3%. The freight volume of ports in tonnes increased by around 5%.

In international sea traffic, 10.7 million passengers used the services of Estonian ports. The number of passengers travelling between Estonia and Finland increased slightly, reaching 9 million. Between Estonia and Sweden, 1.1 million passengers were transported, i.e. 10% less compared to 2018. On international routes, over 2.1 million vehicles were served by ports; 71% were passenger cars and 26% were trucks and trailers. During the cruise season, 676,400 cruise passengers arrived in Estonia, i.e. 4% more than the year before.

On main national ship lines, around 2.6 million passengers were transported, i.e. 104,500 passengers more than in 2018. There were 16,700 trips made and 1.1 million vehicles served, i.e. over 50,900 more vehicles than in 2018. Of the served vehicles, 71% were passenger cars and almost a fourth were trucks and trailers.

Estonian ports handled 37.6 million tonnes of cargo, which is 1.8 million tonnes more than the year before. 25.3 million tonnes of goods were loaded and 12.3 million tonnes unloaded. The volume of transit goods in Estonian ports was 20.2 million tonnes, i.e. 6% more compared to the previous year. 14.6 million tonnes of transit cargo was loaded and 5.6 million tonnes unloaded. 10.7 million tonnes of goods were exported through ports and 6.6 million tonnes of goods were imported.

Sea container transportation through ports was similar to the previous year, amounting to 242,060 TEUs in 2019. The number of containers shipped out of Estonian ports was over 120,855 TEUs, and the number received was 121,205 TEUs.

According to the Estonian Maritime Information System, 11,434 ships arrived from foreign ports. The majority were general cargo non-specialised ships (including ro-ro passenger ships), totalling 9,297. Also, 991 liquid bulk carriers, 263 container ships, 175 dry bulk carriers, 116 specialised carriers and 334 cruise ships arrived in Estonian ports.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Estonia exports for 14.4 bEUR and imports 16.1 bEUR

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, compared to 2018, the exports of goods stayed at the same level and imports decreased by 1%. The substantial increase in trade in the first half of the year compensated for the decrease in the second half.

In 2019, trade stayed at the same level as in 2018

In 2019, Estonia’s exports of goods amounted to 14.4 billion euros and imports to 16.1 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 1.69 billion euros and its decrease was mainly due to increase in the exports of agricultural products and food preparations. The largest deficit was registered in the trade in transport equipment and in raw materials and products of the chemical industry. The largest surplus was in the trade in wood and articles of wood and miscellaneous manufactured articles.

Estonia exported goods to 183 countries and imported goods from 145 countries. A positive foreign trade balance was recorded with 137 countries. The share of European Union countries (incl. the United Kingdom) in Estonia’s total exports was 70% and, in total imports, 79%. In trade with EU countries, exports increased by 3% and imports by 1%. The trade in goods with non-EU countries decreased – exports by 8% and imports by 7%.

The top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Finland, Sweden and Latvia. The biggest increase occurred in exports to Denmark (up by 127 million euros) and Spain (up by 86 million euros), where fuels were exported more. Exports decreased the most to Singapore (down by 178 million euros) and Latvia (down by 71 million euros).

Similarly to previous years, the biggest exports from Estonia were electrical equipment, mineral products, and wood and articles of wood. The greatest impact on exports came from agricultural products and food preparations (up by 226 million euros), transport equipment (up by 142 million euros) and mechanical appliances (up by 106 million euros). Exports decreased the most for mineral products (down by 450 million euros) and electrical equipment (down by 184 million euros).

Goods of Estonian origin accounted for 71% of the total exports of goods. Compared to 2018, their exports decreased by 1% and re-exports increased by 3%. There was a significant decrease in the exports of mineral products and electrical equipment of Estonian origin. The exports of agricultural products and food preparations increased. The main export countries for goods of Estonian origin were Finland, Sweden and the USA.

The main countries of consignment in 2019 were Finland, Lithuania and Germany. Imports decreased the most from Belarus (decrease in the export of fuels) and the Netherlands (electrical equipment). Imports increased the most from Sweden (more cars imported), Latvia (increased fuel imports) and Lithuania (more electrical equipment imported). The main commodities imported to Estonia were mineral products, electrical equipment and transport equipment. The biggest decrease occurred in the imports of mineral products and electrical equipment and the biggest increase in the imports of transport equipment.

In December 2019, the exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 1.1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.3 billion euros. Compared to December 2018, exports increased by 1% and imports by 3%. In December 2019, the growth in exports was affected the most by cereals and, the growth in imports, by fuels.

Source: Statistics Estonia

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Exports 1.15 and imports to 1.25 bEUR in August

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2019, compared to August 2018, the exports of goods decreased by 3% and imports by 7%. The trade decrease was mainly due to declined exports and imports of mineral products (shale oil, motor spirit, fuel additives and electricity).

In August, Estonia’s exports amounted to 1.15 billion euros and imports to 1.25 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 99 million euros, which is 63 million euros less than in August 2018.

The top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Finland (17% of total exports), Sweden (11%) and Latvia (9%). The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Latvia (down 26 million euros) and the Netherlands (down by 12 million euros), while exports to Canada increased the most. Mineral products were exported less to Latvia and the Netherlands, but more to Canada.

The biggest exports were electrical equipment (15% of Estonia’s total exports) and mineral products (11%). The greatest impact on the decline in exports came from mineral products (down by 56 million euros). Exports increased the most for agricultural products and food preparations (up by 16 million euros) and base metals and articles of base metal (up by 12 million euros).

Goods of Estonian origin accounted for 71% of the total exports of goods. Their exports decreased by 3% and re-exports by 2% compared to August 2018. The biggest decrease was in the exports of mineral products, and wood and articles of wood, while the biggest increase occurred for agricultural products and food preparations (barley, rapeseed).

In August, the main countries of consignment were Finland (14% of total imports), Lithuania (11%) and Germany (10%). Imports decreased the most from Russia (down by 50 million euros) and Belarus (down by 20 million euros), due to a decrease in the imports of mineral products. Imports increased the most from Finland (up by 9 million euros) mainly on account of mineral products (electricity).

The main commodities imported to Estonia were electrical equipment (14% of total imports) and mineral products (both 11%). The biggest decrease was in the imports of mineral products (down by 81 million euros) and mechanical appliances (down by 13 million euros). Imports of paper and articles thereof increased the most (up by 4 million euros).

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Exports 1.2 b EUR and imports 1.4 b EUR in July

According to Statistics Estonia, in July 2019, compared to July 2018, the exports of goods decreased by 2% and imports increased by 5%. The share of goods of Estonian origin was the lowest in recent years—66% of total exports.

In July, exports from Estonia amounted to 1.2 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.4 billion euros at current prices. The exports of mineral products (shale oil, motor spirit, fuel additives) decreased by nearly half, but the decline was offset by increased exports in other commodity groups. The trade deficit was 211 million euros, which was 88 million euros more than in the same period last year.

In July, the top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports), Latvia (10%) and Sweden (9%). Electrical equipment and base metals and articles of base metal were the main commodities exported to Finland; mineral products (fuel additives, electricity), agricultural products and food preparations (milk, beer) to Latvia; miscellaneous manufactured articles (prefabricated wood buildings) and wood and articles of wood (pulpwood, sawn timber) to Sweden. The biggest decrease occurred in exports of mineral products to Saudi Arabia (down by 46 million euros). The biggest increase occurred in exports to Lithuania (up by 22 million euros), Denmark (up by 19 million euros) and Latvia (up by 16 million euros). The biggest increase in exports to Lithuania was in transport equipment (cars); and to Denmark and Latvia in exports of mineral products.

The biggest share in exports of goods was held by electrical equipment (15% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (12%) and mechanical appliances (10%). The biggest impact on the decline in exports came from mineral products (down by 125 million euros). The biggest increases were in exports of transport equipment (up by 26 million euros) and mechanical appliances (up by 26 million euros).

The exports of goods of Estonian origin decreased by 10% compared to July 2018, while re-exports increased by 16%. In the exports of goods of Estonian origin, the biggest decrease was in the exports of mineral products and the biggest increase was in mechanical appliances and miscellaneous manufactured articles.

In July, the main countries of consignment were Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (11%), Lithuania and Russia (both 10%). The main commodities imported were: mineral products and base metals, and articles of base metal from Finland; transport equipment and mechanical appliances from Germany; mineral products, agricultural products and food preparations from Lithuania; and mineral products from Russia. Imports increased the most from Russia (up by 25 million euros), Sweden (up by 22 million euros) and from Finland (up by 20 million euros). From Russia, imports of mechanical appliances, from Sweden of transport equipment, and from Finland of mineral products increased the most. Imports decreased the most from Belarus (down by 28 million euros), due to a decrease in the imports of mineral products (motor spirit, heavy oil).

The main commodities imported to Estonia were mineral products (13% of Estonia’s total imports), transport equipment and electrical equipment (both 12%). The biggest increase was in the imports of transport equipment, and base metals and articles of base metal (both up by 27 million euros) and the biggest decrease in the imports of mineral products (down by 22 million euros).

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Increased exports of prefabricated wood buildings

According to Statistics Estonia, in May 2019, compared to May 2018, the exports of goods increased by 8% and imports by 3%. The growth in exports of Estonian goods was significantly influenced by increased sales of prefabricated wood buildings.

In May, exports from Estonia amounted to 1.3 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.4 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 105 million euros, which was 62 million euros less than in the same period last year.

In May, the top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports), Sweden (11%) and Latvia (9%). The biggest increase occurred in exports to Spain (up by 34 million euros), the Netherlands (up by 28 million euros) and Norway (up by 24 million euros). In exports to Spain and the Netherlands, the biggest increase occurred in the exports of mineral products (heavy oil, shale oil); and to Norway, in the exports of miscellaneous manufactured articles (prefabricated wood buildings). The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Belgium (down by 17 million euros), where less mineral products were exported.

The biggest share in exports of goods was held by electrical equipment (15% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (14%), wood and articles of wood, miscellaneous manufactured articles, and mechanical appliances (each 10%). The biggest impact on export growth came from miscellaneous manufactured articles (up by 28 million euros), mechanical appliances (up by 23 million euros), and base metals and articles of base metal (up by 22 million euros).

The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports was 74% in May. The exports of goods of Estonian origin grew by 9% and re-exports by 7%, year-on-year. In the exports of goods of Estonian origin, the biggest growth was in the exports of miscellaneous manufactured articles.

In May, the main countries of consignment were Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (11%), Sweden and Lithuania (both 10%). Imports increased the most from Sweden and Lithuania (both up by 15 million euros) and from Russia (up by 11 million euros). From Sweden, imports of electrical equipment, from Lithuania, imports of mineral products, and from Russia, imports of raw materials and products of chemical industry increased the most. Imports decreased the most from Belarus (down by 44 million euros), due to a decrease in the imports of mineral products (motor spirit, heavy oil).

The main commodities imported to Estonia were electrical equipment (13% of Estonia’s total imports), transport equipment and mineral products (both 12%) and mechanical appliances (11%). The biggest increase was in the imports of mechanical appliances, and raw materials and products of chemical industry (both up by 21 million euros) and the biggest decrease in the imports of mineral products (down by 51 million euros).

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Exports increased by 12 and imports by 10 pct in 2018

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2018, the exports of goods increased by 12% and imports by 10% compared to 2017. The exports and imports of mineral products had the greatest impact on trade growth in 2018.

In 2018, the exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 14.4 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 16.2 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit in 2018 was 1.8 billion euros, which is 69 million euros less compared to 2017. The largest surplus was in the trade in wood and articles of wood and miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture, prefabricated wood buildings); the largest deficit was registered in the trade in transport equipment and in raw materials and products of the chemical industry.

In 2018, the share of European Union countries in Estonia’s total exports was 68% and in total imports 78%. The trade deficit with other EU countries totalled 2.8 billion euros, which is 55 million euros less than in 2017. In trade with EU countries, exports increased by 6% and imports by 4%. Trade in goods with non-EU countries grew more – exports increased by 27% and imports by 37%. The trade surplus with non-EU countries was over 1 billion euros.

As in previous years, in 2018, electrical equipment was exported the most, accounting for 16% of Estonia’s total exports. Next came mineral products (15%) and wood and articles of wood (11%). The increase in exports was mostly affected by a rise in the exports of mineral products (up by 900 million euros), wood and articles of wood (up by 152 million euros) and mechanical appliances (up by 131 million euros). The biggest decrease in 2018 was recorded in the exports of agricultural products and food preparations.

The top destination countries of Estonia’s exports in 2018 were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports of goods), Sweden (11%) and Latvia (10%). Electrical equipment and base metals and articles of base metal were the main commodities exported to Finland; electrical equipment and wood and articles of wood were the main commodities exported to Sweden; mineral products, and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Latvia. The biggest increase occurred in exports to the USA, Singapore and Finland. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Sweden, the Netherlands and Russia.

The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports of goods was 72% in 2018. The exports of goods of Estonian origin increased by 12% and re-exports by 11% compared to 2017. In the exports of goods of Estonian origin, the greatest increase was in the exports of mineral products (incl. shale oil, solvent), wood and articles of wood (birch and pine pulpwood) and electrical equipment (data communication equipment). The main destination countries of goods of Estonian origin were Finland, Sweden and Germany. The biggest increase in the exports of goods of Estonian origin was in the exports to the USA and Singapore and the biggest decrease in the exports to Sweden.

The main commodities imported to Estonia were mineral products (15% of Estonia’s total imports of goods), electrical equipment (14%) and mechanical appliances, transport equipment, and agricultural products and food preparations (each 10%). The greatest increase was in the imports of mineral products (up by 1 billion euros), mechanical appliances (up by 208 million euros) and base metals and articles of base metal (up by 168 million euros).

The main countries of consignment in 2018 were Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports of goods), Germany and Lithuania (10% each). From Finland, mineral products, and electrical equipment were imported the most. Transport equipment and mechanical appliances were imported the most from Germany, and mineral products and agricultural products and food preparations from Lithuania. The biggest year-on-year increase occurred in imports from Russia (up by 484 million euros), Belarus (up by 342 million euros) and Lithuania (up by 187 million euros), with the largest increase in the imports of mineral products. At the same time, imports decreased the most from Poland and the Netherlands.

Estonia exported goods to 183 countries and imported goods from 143 countries. A positive foreign trade balance was recorded in the case of 139 countries. The biggest surplus was recorded in trade with the USA, followed by Norway and Singapore. The biggest deficit was recorded in trade with Germany, Lithuania and Poland.

In December 2018, exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 1.1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.3 billion euros. Compared to December 2017, exports increased by 6% and imports by 7%. In December 2018, the growth in exports and imports was affected the most by increase in the trade of mineral products.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Enterprise Estonia to open office on US east coast in 2019

Enterprise Estonia is to open an office on the east coast of the United States in 2019, offering cooperation between US partners in industry and technological development and businesses participating in its business and product development programs.

The exact location of the office has not yet been announced, though cooperation with partners in the state of South Carolina seems to have been the genesis of the move.

“If an Estonian enterprise finds a partner from South Carolina within the framework of this agreement, it will have the option of receiving support from the development program or product development aid to finance the project,” Tanel Rebane, director of the Trade Development Agency at Enterprise Estonia, said.

Read more from ERR News

The current account reflects a large trade deficit

  • The current account indicates more investment activity than earlier
  • The key economic indicators are distorted by large individual transactions
  • There were no major changes in the funding of the economy from abroad

The current account deficit in the first quarter was 35 million euros, or 0.6% of GDP, which is not unusual. The causes of the current account deficit in the first quarter were mainly seasonal. The foreign trade surplus for services is usually smaller at the start of the year as exports of travel and transport services are lower, and the net outflow[1] of income is the largest of the year because of the large payments made to the budget of the European Union. Exports of transport services did grow quite quickly in the first quarter of this year, but the deficit on the goods account was almost twice what it was a year earlier. Increasing growth in imports of goods is a typical sign of higher levels of activity in investment. Excluding the very large one-off import transactions in the transport sector at the start of last year, foreign trade statistics show that imports of capital goods were almost 8% larger in first quarter of this year than a year earlier. Recently published statistics for economic growth indicate a fall of 8% in investment in the first quarter, though they also reveal that that figure was severely impacted by one-off transactions, without which investment would have grown by around 3%. Though investment activity has increased of late, the general level of investment remains low in historical terms and in comparison with other European countries.

Investment in Estonia was somewhat larger than investment abroad from Estonia. The net inflow of investment was mainly due to the banking system and foreign aid from the European Union to the general government. Direct investment in Estonia fell for the second consecutive quarter, though the changes were quite small. Equity investment was down, while dividend payments by credit institutions meant that reinvested income in Estonia also fell, which is quite unusual. The reduction in equity was offset by the direct investment in debt, though not fully.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Kristo Aab, Economist at Eesti Pank

Estonian current account at 58 mEUR in surplus in May

The flash estimate1 put the Estonian current account at 58 million euros in surplus in May 2018.

The surplus on the goods and services account increased from a year earlier to 96 million euros. Goods exports and imports were both up by 9%, meaning the deficit on the goods account was 8 million euros more than in May 2017 at 114 million euros. Services exports were up by 8% and imports by 2%, meaning the surplus on the goods account widened by 37 million euros to 210 million euros. The net outflow of investment income and current transfers, or the primary and secondary income accounts, was the same as a year earlier at 40 million euros.

The current and capital accounts were in surplus by a total of 84 million euros, meaning that the Estonian economy was a net lender to the rest of the world, so the country as a whole invested more financial assets abroad than it received from there.

1 The quarterly balance of payments is compiled from a combined system of representative primary data sources, including surveys of companies, while the monthly balance of payments draws from a considerably smaller database. Although the monthly report uses as much of the data available for the month reported as possible, including administrative data sources and reports on international payments, it is subjective to a certain degree, which is why it is called an estimate. Once the quarterly balance of payments is released, the monthly balances of payments are adjusted accordingly. For more on the principles used in compiling the flash estimate, see http://statistika.eestipank.ee/failid/mbo/kiir_mb_eng.html

Source: Bank of Estonia