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

Exports of goods increased by 16 pct in April

According to Statistics Estonia, in April 2018, the exports of goods increased by 16% and imports by 13% compared to April 2017. The growth in trade in April of this year was broad-based, with increased exports and imports in both mineral products and mechanical appliances.

In April 2018, exports from Estonia amounted to 1.2 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.4 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 171 million euros (in April 2017, it was 185 million euros).

In March, the top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports), Sweden (12%) and Latvia (10%). Electrical equipment and base metals and articles of base metal were the main commodities exported to Finland; electrical equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles (prefabricated wood buildings, furniture) were the main commodities exported to Sweden; mineral products (motor spirit, electricity) and transport equipment (motor cars) were the main commodities exported to Latvia. The biggest increase occurred in exports to Finland (up by 34 million euros), Latvia (up by 33 million euros) and the USA (up by 19 million euros). In exports to Finland, the exports of electrical equipment and wood and articles of wood increased. There was also an increase in the exports of mineral products and transport equipment to Latvia and electrical equipment to the USA. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Sweden (down by 16 million euros).

In April, the biggest share in the exports of goods was held by electrical equipment (15% of the total exports of goods), followed by mineral products (13%), and wood and articles of wood (11%). The greatest increase was in the exports of mineral products (up by 50 million euros), mechanical appliances (up by 25 million euros) and transport equipment (up by 21 million euros). The growth in the exports of mineral products was mainly due to increased export quantities (motor spirit up by 51% and electricity up by 31%), compared to the same period of the previous year.

The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports was 70% in April 2018. The exports of goods of Estonian origin increased by 14% and re-exports by 23%. Increased exports in the commodity sections of mineral products, wood and articles of wood and mechanical appliances contributed to the increase in the exports of goods of Estonian origin. Among the main destination countries, the exports of goods of Estonian origin had the highest share (over 90%) in exports to the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

The main countries of consignment in April were Finland (14% share of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (11%) and Sweden (10%). The main commodities imported were: mineral products and metals and articles of base metal from Finland; mechanical appliances and transport equipment from Germany; and electrical equipment and transport equipment from Sweden. The biggest increase occurred in imports from Finland (up by 42 million euros), Belarus (up by 33 million euros, i.e. approximately 8 times) and Sweden (up by 26 million euros). Mineral products (motor spirit, fuel additives) were imported more from Finland and Belarus, electrical equipment from Sweden. Imports decreased the most from Poland (down by 25 million euros) and Turkey (down by 21 million euros), with less transport equipment imported.

The main commodities imported to Estonia were electrical equipment (15% of Estonia’s total imports of goods), mineral products (13%), mechanical appliances and transport equipment (both 11%). The greatest increase was in the imports of mineral products (up by 67 million euros), mechanical appliances (up by 30 million euros) and electrical equipment (up by 21 million euros). Increased imports of mineral products were due to higher import quantities (imports of fuel additives increased by approximately 4 times and imports of motor spirit by 31%), compared to the same period of the previous year.  In April, the greatest decrease occurred in the imports of transport equipment (down by 48 million euros).

In April 2018, the foreign trade export volume index increased by 16% and the import volume index by 12% compared to April 2017.Estonia’s foreign trade by month, 2016–2018

Read more from Statistics Estonia

2017 was a good year for exports

The year 2017 was a successful one for the Estonian economy. The economy grew at a clearly faster rate than in previous years. Growth was boosted by the industrial sector, which is focused on exports, and by branches of the economy that serve domestic demand. The real growth in exports was less than in 2016, though this was due to a reduction in exports from one branch of industrial production. Investment finally started to increase in both the business and government sectors. Only investment by households remained the same as a year earlier. Against this background the current account surplus increased to 734 million euros, or 3.2% of GDP. The growth in passenger transport by air and information and computer services boosted the surplus in exports and imports of services by around one fifth. Alongside the growth in the surplus in the goods and services account, the surplus in the current account was also increased by fines received from abroad. The outflow of investment income was at about the same level as in the previous year, which indicates that the profit earned by companies based on foreign capital had not increased during the year.

More direct investment was made in Estonia from abroad than was made abroad from Estonia. New direct investment of around one billion euros was made in the equity capital of foreign-owned companies in 2017, which is around double the amount seen in the past four or five years. At the same time earlier investments were reduced by about the same amount, so overall there was no net flow of new money into the country. The reinvestment by non-financial companies of profits earned earlier in Estonia meant that the inflow of direct investment was still larger than the outflow, and it was at the same level as a year earlier.

Estonian assets abroad grew more than liabilities in 2017, and so Estonia was a net lender. As the current account has been in surplus for some time, there is money available in the Estonian economy that is being placed abroad more and more. In consequence, Estonia’s net international investment position, which is the difference between the foreign assets and liabilities of the country, has moved steadily towards balance. In 2017 it stood at around -30% of GDP.

Source: Bank of Estonia
Author: Kristo Aab, Economist at Eesti Pank

Estonian trade reached record level last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2017 compared to 2016, the exports of goods increased by 8% and imports by 9%. In 2017, the exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 12.8 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 14.7 billion euros at current prices.

The trade deficit in 2017 was 1.9 billion euros, having increased by 315 million euros compared to 2016. The increase in the trade deficit was affected the most by the imports of transport equipment (incl. ships). The largest surplus was in the trade in wood and articles of wood and miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture); the largest deficit was registered in the trade in transport equipment and in raw materials and products of the chemical industry.

In 2017, the share of European Union countries in Estonia’s total exports was 71% and in total imports 82%. The trade deficit with other European Union countries totalled 3 billion euros, which is 610 million euros more than in 2016. In trade with EU countries, exports increased by 4% and imports by 9%. Trade in goods with non-EU countries grew more – exports increased by 18% and imports by 11%.

As in previous years, electrical equipment was exported the most, accounting for 17% of Estonia’s total exports in 2017. The second and third places were held by the exports of wood and articles of wood (11%) and mineral products (10%). The increase in exports was mostly affected by a rise in the exports of mineral products (incl. fuel), base metals and articles of base metal (incl. metal waste) and wood and articles of wood (incl. sawn timber). The biggest decrease in 2017 was recorded in the exports of electrical equipment.

The top destination country of Estonia’s exports in 2017 was Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports). Sweden (14%) was second and Latvia (9%) third. The biggest increase occurred in exports to Finland, followed by Russia and Germany. Exports to Sweden, Mexico and Nigeria decreased the most.

The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports was 72% in 2017. In the exports of goods of Estonian origin, the largest increase was in the exports of mineral products, base metals and articles of base metal and wood and articles of wood. The exports of electrical equipment dropped significantly. The main destination countries of goods of Estonian origin are Finland, Sweden and Germany. The biggest increase in the exports of goods of Estonian origin was in the exports to Germany and Finland and the biggest decrease in the exports to Sweden and Mexico.

In 2017, the main commodity imported to Estonia was electrical equipment; its share amounted to 15% of Estonia’s total imports. This was followed by transport equipment (13%), agricultural products and food preparations, mechanical appliances and mineral products (each 10%). In a year, the imports of transport equipment (incl. ships, cars) and mineral products (incl. fuel) increased the most. The imports of electrical equipment decreased.

The main countries of consignment in 2017 were Finland (14% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (11%), and Lithuania (9%). The biggest increase occurred in imports from Finland, followed by Russia and Sweden. The largest decrease was registered in imports from Hungary, the USA and Canada.

Estonia exported goods to 180 countries and imported goods from 133 countries. A positive foreign trade balance was recorded in the case of 130 countries. The biggest surplus was recorded in trade with Sweden, followed by Norway and the USA. The biggest deficit was recorded in trade with Poland, Germany and Lithuania.

In December 2017, exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.2 billion euros. Compared to December 2016, exports increased 3% and imports 4%. In December 2017, the growth in exports was affected the most by the exports of cereals, and the growth in imports by fuel imports.

In December 2017, the foreign trade export volume index increased by 2% and the import volume index by 11% compared to the same period of 2016.Estonia’s foreign trade, 2004–2017

Read more from Statistics Estonia