NASA uses Estonian-founded GrabCAD

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research, is using the Estonian-founded, US-based, online engineering platform GrabCAD to design a handrail clamp assembly (HCA) for the International Space Station (ISS) that can be printed on the ISS 3D printer.

Called NASA Handrail Clamp Assembly Challenge, the aim is to find the best design for a rigid clamp that is used by astronauts on the ISS. The handrail clamp is used by astronauts in a microgravity environment to mount various things.

The HCA design will be printed by the 3D printer on-board ISS and will be named CHAMP (Clamp for Handrail with Additively Manufactured Parts).

NASA is using the GrabCAD community of designers and engineers to find a new design.

Founded in 2010, GrabCAD helps engineers get products to market faster by connecting people, content and technology. The firm offers GrabCAD Workbench, a cloud-based collaboration tool that enables engineers and designers to share, view and manage CAD files and other design data. GrabCAD is also home to a community of more than 1.6 million members from around the world, who can access a large public CAD file library, as well as connect with other engineers.

GrabCAD was recently acquired by the US-Israeli provider of 3D printing solutions, Stratasys Ltd, for around 100 million dollars.

The NASA challenge will be open for submission until February 16 and winners will be announced on month later

Source: ERR News via Estonian Review

Winners and losers of cheaper oil in Estonia

• Cheaper oil boosts consumption and cuts production costs
• Lower energy prices reduce oil shale revenues
• Less expensive oil also diminishes export demand

Cheaper oil boosts consumption and cuts production costs
The positive oil price shock is expected to lift households’ real disposable incomes and companies’ profit margins in several sectors. Companies will benefit from lower energy costs and the higher real purchasing power of households. Spending on motor fuels amounts to around 6% of final consumption expenditure of households, i.e., around EUR 1,000 per household per year, on average. If oil prices were to decline by 30% in euros this year, then consumption would increase by less than 1 percentage point.

Lower energy prices reduce oil shale revenues
In 2014, the trade deficit of mineral products in Estonia was around 2% of GDP. Estonia imported petroleum and coal, but exported electricity, peat, cement, and crude petroleum oils. The good news is that the prices of electricity, peat, and cement are less directly linked to global crude oil prices, and the volumes of oil shale’s fuel oils are relatively small. The production of the fuel oils from oil shale constitutes around 2% of Estonia’s GDP and employs around 3,500 people (0.6% of total employment in Estonia).

Less expensive oil also diminishes export demand
Even when cheaper oil benefits Estonia’s consumers and a large part of its producers, it will reduce demand in net oil-exporting countries like Russia and Norway. The economic crisis in Russia – although not entirely caused by cheaper oil – will also worsen the outlooks for the Baltic economies and Finland. As a result, Estonia’s export market growth rate is lower, even when cheaper oil is believed to lift the economic growth rate of the EU and the world as a whole.

Source: Swedbank

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Estonia exported goods worth 12.1 bEUR in 2014

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2014, exports from Estonia amounted to 12.1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 13.7 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 1.6 billion euros and it increased by 126 million euros compared to 2013.

In 2014, exports of goods decreased by 2% and imports by 1% at current prices, compared to 2013. The year-over-year comparison of trade was influenced the most by the single transaction made with ships in January 2013; it is excluded from trade, then the level of trade in 2014 remained on the level of 2013.

In 2014, the share of European Union countries was 72% in the exports of goods  and 83% in imports; compared to 2013, the indicator remained on the same level for exports, but decreased 1% in the case of imports. The biggest trade surplus was recorded in trade with Sweden and Norway and the biggest trade deficit occurred in trade with Germany and Poland.

In 2014, the main countries of destination were Sweden (18% of Estonia’s total exports), Finland (15%) and Latvia (11%). Electrical equipment and wood and products thereof were mainly exported to Sweden, electrical equipment and metals and products thereof to Finland, and agricultural products and food preparations and mineral products to Latvia. The largest decrease was recorded in exports to Russia (down by 216 million euros), Finland (down by 138 million euros) and Lithuania (down by 81 million euros). Exports to Russia decreased on account of mechanical appliances and agricultural products and food preparations. Less transport equipment was exported to Finland and fewer mineral products to Lithuania. The most significant increase occurred in exports to Sweden and the USA.

The main countries of consignment in 2014 were Finland (15% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (12%) and Sweden (11%). Mineral products and electrical equipment were mostly imported from Finland, mechanical appliances and transport from Germany and electrical and transport equipment from Sweden. The most significant decrease occurred in imports from the United Kingdom (down by 136 million euros), Latvia (down by 129 million euros) and Lithuania (down by 91 million euros). Imports from Germany and Sweden increased the most.

In 2014, the most important commodity group in exports was electrical equipment (22% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (11%), and agricultural products and food preparations (10%). The decrease in Estonia’s exports in 2014 compared to 2013 was mostly influenced by a decrease in the exports of transport equipment (down by 161 million euros), raw materials and products of the chemical industry (down by 99 million euros) and mechanical appliances (down by 76 million euros). The exports of electrical equipment and wood and products thereof increased the most.

In 2014 the biggest share of Estonia’s imports was held by electrical equipment (19% of Estonia’s total imports), followed by mineral products (13%), and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). The decrease in imports was influenced the most by transport equipment (down by 264 million euros), mechanical appliances (down by 140 million euros) and agricultural products and food preparations (down by 30 million euros). At the same time, the imports of electrical equipment and mineral products increased.

In 2014 compared to 2013, export prices fell by 2.6% and import prices by 2.2%.

In December 2014, the value of exports of goods was 0.9 billion euros and the value of imports was 1.1 billion euros. In December 2014 compared to December 2013, exports increased by 3% and imports by 9%.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Estonian economy grew 2.7 pct in 4Q

According to the flash estimates of Statistics Estonia, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia increased 2.7% in the 4th quarter of 2014 compared to the 4th quarter of 2013. The annual GDP growth in 2014 was 1.8% compared to the previous year.

In the 4th quarter, the main contributor to the GDP was manufacturing, which is the largest economic activity in Estonia. The manufacture of electronics and wood accounted for the largest positive contribution to the increase in manufacturing.

In addition to manufacturing, the greatest contributors to the Estonian economy in the last quarter of 2014 were energy and trade activities. The growth in trade was mainly driven by retail trade due to strong domestic demand. External demand also grew in the 4th quarter. The real export of goods increased 8.0% in the 4th quarter of 2014. The growth in the import of goods accelerated to 6.6% in real terms.

In the 4th quarter, the Estonian economy was slowed down the most by the decrease in the value added in transport and construction.

According to preliminary estimates, the GDP growth was also significantly influenced by the increased receipts of value added tax, which is a part of net taxes on products. One reason was the changed declaring procedure for value added tax implemented on 1 November 2014. Net taxes on products were also significantly influenced by the increased receipts of excise taxes.

In the 4th quarter of 2014, the seasonally and working-day adjusted GDP increased by 1.1% compared to the previous quarter and by 2.6% compared to the 4th quarter of 2013.Diagram: GDP, growth of the export and import of goods

The revised GDP estimates for the 4th quarter of 2014 will be published by Statistics Estonia on 11 March.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Taxify expands to South Africa

The Estonian start-up Taxify, developer of a smartphone-based application for taxi booking, is set to expand to the South African cities Johannesburg and Cape Town at the end of this month.

Cooperation with licensed taxi operators only gives the company an edge over competitors, CEO of Taxify South Africa Trevor Joseph said in a press release. “Our passengers are always assured that they are in the hands of properly-licensed drivers, with the necessary taxi permit and public carrier insurance,” he said.

In just over two months of preparatory work on the South African market, Taxify has over 150 vehicles registered on the system. The company hopes to exceed 500 vehicles by the end of March.

Founded in Estonia in 2013, Taxify is engaged in developing a smartphone app and dispatcher software for taxi booking. The company currently operates in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Britain, Georgia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United States.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Foreign trade decreased in November

According to Statistics Estonia, in November 2014, exports of goods decreased by 1% and imports by 3% at current prices compared to November 2013. The decrease in exports was mostly influenced by the reduced exports of agricultural products and food preparations and mechanical appliances to Russia.

In November, exports from Estonia amounted to 1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.1 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 74 million euros and it decreased by 25 million euros compared to November 2013.

The biggest share in Estonia’s exports in November 2014 was held by electrical equipment (23% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by agricultural products and food preparations (12%) and mineral products (11%). The decrease in exports compared to November 2013 was due to a significant decrease in the exports of mechanical appliances (down by 16 million euros) and agricultural products and food preparations (down by 11 million euros). The biggest increase occurred in the exports of electrical equipment and mineral products.

In November 2014, the main commodities imported were electrical equipment (21% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (11%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Compared to November 2013, the biggest decrease occurred in the imports of transport equipment (down by 25 million euros), mineral products (down by 23 million euros) and agricultural products and food preparations (down by 16 million euros). At the same time, the imports of electrical equipment and raw materials and products of chemical industry increased the most.

The top destination country of Estonia’s exports in November 2014 was Sweden (a fifth of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (14%) and Latvia (9%). The biggest decrease compared to November 2013 occurred in exports to CIS countries (down by 52 million euros).

In the case of CIS countries, the most significant fall occurred in exports to Russia (down by 47 million euros) – there was a fall in the exports of all products except for raw materials and products of chemical industry. There was also a decrease in exports to Latvia (down by 11 million euros), Finland (down by 10 million euros) and Germany (down by 6 million euros).

In exports to Latvia, the decrease was the highest in the dispatches of textiles and products thereof and transport equipment. In exports to Finland, there was a decrease in the dispatches of mineral products (incl. electricity) and metals and products thereof. In exports to Germany, there was a decrease in the dispatches of wood and products thereof. The increase was the biggest in exports to Sweden and the Netherlands.

The main countries of consignment in November 2014 were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total imports), Sweden (11%) and Germany (11%). Compared to November 2013, the biggest decrease occurred in imports from the United Kingdom (down by 30 million euros or 53%), Lithuania (down by 28 million euros) and Germany (down by 11 million euros). There were decreased imports of mechanical appliances and spirits from the United Kingdom, decreased imports of minerals products (incl. motor fuel) from Lithuania and decreased imports of medical appliances and mineral products from Germany. Among CIS countries, imports from Russia decreased the most (down by 15 million euros) – there were decreased imports of mineral products. Imports from Poland, Finland and Sweden increased the most.

In November compared to October 2014, exports decreased by 10% and imports by 14%.

Read more from here

Source: Statistics Estonia

China could be interested in Estonian dairy products

Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship Anne Sulling has described the words recently said by the prime minister of China as regards China’s interest toward Estonian products as giving hope, yet added that to her knowledge Estonian dairy companies have not been included in the list of approved producers of China’s import inspection service.

“What the Chinese prime minister said is certainly encouraging and gives hope that it will be soon possible for Estonian dairy producers to export their products to China. The director general of the Veterinary and Food Board, Ago Partel, however has said that as of the present moment Estonian dairy companies have not been included in the list of the Chinese service for the import of raw materials of animal origin and food import quarantine where the names of all the countries and businesses accepted as trading partners are published,” Sulling told BNS.

Sulling observed that inclusion of Estonian dairy sector companies in the list is a prerequisite for allowing their products on the Chinese market. “The [Veterinary and Food] Board presented an application to that effect along with a filled-out detailed preliminary questionnaire to their Chinese colleagues already in May last year. The statement by the prime minister of China gives hope that our dairy companies will indeed soon be included in that list too. For sure opening of the Chinese market would expand opportunities for Estonian dairy producers to sell their products on faraway markets. The more markets there are open for Estonia, the better,” the minister said.

Estonian exports to China in the first nine months of this year amounted to 101.1 million euros, which is 42.7 percent more than in the same period a year ago. Total exports by Estonia in the nine-month period meanwhile dropped 3.3 percent year on year to 8.94 billion euros.

Imports from China declined 4.9 percent to 354.7 million euros. Total import by Estonia contracted 2.6 percent to 10.12 billion euros in January-September 2014.

The main items Estonia exports to China are machinery and equipment, accounting for 26 percent of total, wood and wood products, 13 percent, and mineral products, 9 percent. Of goods moving in the opposite direction machinery and mechanical equipment make up 61 percent, textile and textile products 10 percent and metal and metal products 6 percent.

The Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, has said the country’s doors are open for Estonian products and the relationship between the two countries is in a fresh starting point.

“Doors of the Chinese market are open for Estonian products. According to our statistics trade between China and Estonia increased in 2011 as well as in 2012. In 2013 Estonia’s exports to China even grew by 50 percent. It shows that trade between China and Estonia is moving towards a bigger balance,” Li told Eesti Paevaleht.

Li said that the Chinese-Estonian relationship is in a fresh starting point. Estonia has high quality dairy products and bottled water which could attract Chinese consumers with medium or high income. He added that Chinese agricultural and quality inspection institutions are inspecting Estonian producers and the Chinese government is ready to support its companies in buying Estonian products.

Source: Baltic News Service throuh Estonian Review

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