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Update 16.06.2018

The construction price index fell in 2016

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2016, the construction price index fell 0.8% compared with the average of 2015.

Compared to 2015, labour costs increased by 1.2%, the cost of machines decreased by 1.1% and the cost of materials decreased by 1.8%.

In the 4th quarter of 2016 compared to the 3rd quarter, the change of the construction price index was 0.2%, and compared to the 4th quarter of 2015 the change was -0.5%. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2016, the index was mainly influenced by an increase in labour costs, which contributed more than half of the quarterly change. Compared to the 4th quarter of 2015, the construction price index was mainly influenced by the depreciation of building materials, which accounted for more than 75% of the total decrease.

The repair and reconstruction work price index decreased by 0.9% in 2016 compared to the average of 2015. Labour costs increased by 0.8%, the cost of machines decreased by 1.6% and the cost of building materials decreased by 2.1%.

The change of the repair and reconstruction work price index in the 4th quarter of 2016 was 0.3% compared to the 3rd quarter and -0.4% compared to the 4th quarter of 2015.

The calculation of the construction price index covers four groups of buildings: detached houses, apartment buildings, industrial buildings and office buildings. The repair and reconstruction work price index covers office buildings. The construction price index expresses the change in the cost of construction at the level of direct costs at a construction site. The resources taken into account in direct costs are divided into three main groups: labour force, building machines and building materials.

Change in the construction price index, 4th quarter 2016
3rd quarter 2016 – 4th quarter 2016, % 4th quarter 2015 – 4th quarter 2016, %
TOTAL 0.2 -0.5
labour force 0.3 0.3
building machines 0.4 0.0
building materials 0.1 -1.0
Index of detached houses 0.2 -0.1
Index of apartment buildings 0.2 -0.2
Index of industrial buildings 0.2 -0.5
Index of office buildings 0.1 -0.6
Change in the repair and reconstruction work price index, 4th quarter 2016
3rd quarter 2016 – 4th quarter 2016, % 4th quarter 2015 – 4th quarter 2016, %
TOTAL 0.3 -0.4
labour force 0.3 0.2
building machines 0.1 0.1
building materials 0.3 -0.9

For the statistical activity “Construction price index”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting this statistical activity.

Source: Statistics Estonia

The Estonian current account at 81 mEUR surplus in September

The flash estimate1 put the Estonian current account at 81 million euros in surplus in September 2016. The surplus on the goods and services account was 118 million euros, which was 70 million euros more than at the same time a year earlier. The growth of 10% in goods exports was notably faster than the 3% in imports, and this reduced the deficit on the goods account to 27 million euros. The surplus on the services account reached 145 million euros, with exports of services growing by a strong 7%, and imports doing likewise by 8%. Exports of services were brought down by transport services and boosted by travel services and other services, while imports of travel services were down and those of all other services were up. The net outflow on the primary and secondary income accounts totalled 37 million euros, which was 11 million euros more than at the same time a year earlier.

The sum total of the current and capital accounts was 100 million euros. This means that the Estonian economy was a net lender to the rest of the world, so the country as a whole invested more resources abroad than it received from there.

Eesti Pank publishes the flash estimate of the balance of payments monthly for the last month but one.

Eesti Pank will publish the balance of payments for the third quarter of 2016 on 9 December 2016.

1The 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 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.

See the graph on Bank of Estonia website

Foreign visitors spent 10 mEUR more in 3Q than a year ago

Estonian residents visited foreign countries a million times in the third quarter of 2016, which was about the same as in the third quarter of last year1. One visit in five was made outside the European Union. The number of visits by Estonian residents to Turkey was down by half, and the number to France and the United Kingdom was down 14%. The number of visits to Greece increased meanwhile by 21%, to Ukraine by 20%, to Bulgaria by 12%, and to Croatia by 11%. Same-day visits accounted for 15% of the total, and there were a few more such visits than in the third quarter of last year. The number of overnight visits was down 1% and their average length was 3% shorter at 3.9 days than in the same period of 2015. Estonian residents spent an estimated 200 million euros abroad in the third quarter.

There were more than two million visits to Estonia by foreign residents in the third quarter of 2016, which was 3% more than in the same quarter of 2015. More than 700,000 visits were made from Finland, accounting for one third of the total. More visits were made to Estonia from all of the neighbouring countries than in the same period a year before. There was also a rise in the number of visits from Spain and from the USA, with numbers from both places up by a tenth from a year before. Every second visitor to Estonia stayed overnight, and the average length of the stay was the same as a year earlier at 4.5 days. Tourists visiting Estonia spent an estimated total of 430 million euros.

1 The number of trips abroad and the number of visits to foreign countries are not the same, as one trip abroad may include visits to several different countries.

The movement of travellers has a noticeable effect on the export and import of travel services in the Estonian balance of payments, which will be published on 9 December.

Source: Bank of Estonia

First Estonian-built 3D printer

EDM Machinery, a company which grew out of the University of Tartu, has launched the first 3D printer designed and built in Estonia.

The idea to produce 3D printers came to the company after staff became tired of repairing a 3D printer they had purchased.

“We now are aiming to produce a larger quantity of printers and visit different expos, from where we will find interested parties and new ideas,” CEO Kersti Vatter said, adding that they plan to continue improving the design and help the sector grow in the world.

The 2,500-euro 3D printer is aimed at more research and innovation intensive businesses. The printer comes with a 2-year guarantee.

Source: ERR News

EDM Machinery website for printers

Estonia purchases anti-tank missile systems

Estonian Minister of Defence Sven Mikser is to sign a contract on the purchase of Javelin anti-tank missile systems next Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of State approved sale of the Javelin anti-tank missile system to Estonia at the beginning of October. The value of the contract is 55 million dollars or around 43.3 million euros.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told BNS on Friday that the exact amounts will become clear when the contract is signed.

Estonia has expressed a wish to buy 350 Javelin missiles and other equipment necessary for using the system as well as spare parts.

Mikser said Estonia’s strategic ally the United States understands that in the changed security situation Estonia must increase deterrence against a possible aggressor. “With new anti-tank missile systems we will increase the fighting efficiency of the defense forces,” he said at the beginning of October.

The government approved on Oct. 9 budget changes as a result of which the first payment for the Javelins can be made from this year’s budget.

At the beginning of June the government tasked the defense minister with entering into talks with the United States to purchase third-generation Javelin anti-tank missile systems and sign the contract if the conditions are acceptable.

The effective range of the so-called fire-and-forget missile is from 65 meters to 2.5 kilometers. The anti-tank missile system has been used by the armed forces of the United States and many other countries since mid-1990s.

Source: BNS via Estonian Review

Oleg Ossinovski is the richest man of Estonia

Transport tycoon Oleg Ossinovski has pulled further away from competitors for the label of the richest in the nation, despite losing over 10 million euros since the 2013 Äripäev annual list.

Hillar Teder, in real estate and the richest man in 2012, was again second, but continued to lose financial value, with the business daily valuing him at only 238.4 million euros, nearly 60 million less than a year ago, a 110 million drop since 2012. Ossinovski, father of Minister of Education Jevgeni Ossinovski, was valued at 286 million this year.

Both Teder and Ossinovski are heavily involved with business in the wider region, including Ukraine, although the conflict has had a greater effect on Teder, who has struggled to keep his real estate projects in Kyiv.

The rest of the top 10 for 2014 are:

Priit Piilmann – 183 (million euros), major shareholder in Viru Keemia Group (211 million euros in 2013)
Toomas Annus – 163, major shareholder of Merko real estate developer (143 million)
Armin Karu 153 – major shareholder of Olympic Entertainment Group (161 million)
Nerijus Numavicius 118 – owner of Maxima, continuing investing in Estonia (88 million)
Roman Stroykov 116 – Russian wholesale businessman (115)
Marcel Vichmann 114 – owner of Edelaraudtee and GoBus, among other businesses (117)
Fjodor Berman 112 – owner of BLRT Group (119)
Margus Kangro 108 – major shareholder in Viru Keemia Group (132)

Total value of the top 10 this year came to 1,591 million euros. That figure in 2013 was 1,708 million, according toÄripäev, which is responsible for the financial calculations.

Source: ERR

General government deficit decreased last year

According to preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, in 2013 the Estonian general government deficit was 0.2% and the gross debt level was 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At the end of 2013, the total expenditures of the general government exceeded the revenues by 34 million euros, accounted as the Maastricht deficit criteria. By the end of the year, the central government deficit decreased from 123 million euros in 2012 to 14 million euros. The deficit of the local government sector increased almost three times over the year, amounting to 83 million euros. The budget of social security funds was also in surplus by 63 million euros, but it was tighter than in three previous years.

In 2013, both the levels of the general government’s total expenditures and revenues were 3% higher than a year before. Returns from taxes to the general government budget were 5% higher. For the second consecutive year, revenues from the personal and corporate income tax increased the most (15% in total). Property income underwent a significant fall (decrease of 16%), mostly due to a decrease in dividends. The foreign aid revenues lessened significantly over the year, but for this change it is important to notice the high level of income in 2012 – in 2013, the foreign aid revenues accounted for 405 million euros, 506 million in 2012 and 432 million euros in 2011. There was a considerable change in investments – in 2013, the general government sector spent 154 million euros less for investments than in 2012.

The consolidated debt of the general government (Maastricht debt) rose by 132.7 million euros, reaching 1.8 billion euros by the end of 2013. The local governments as well as the central government contributed to the growth of the debt level. The volume of the long-term securities issued by the central government decreased by 4% and the loan liabilities rose by 8%. The share of foreign debt in the central government’s loan liabilities was nearly 90%.

The Estonian involvement in the European temporary rescue mechanism, EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) increased by 104 million euros in 2013. At the end of 2013, the liabilities towards the EFSF totalled 458 million euros, of which 80% went for the participation in the rescue package for Greece, 11% for Portugal and 9% for Ireland.

The overall debt level of the local governments grew by 12% compared to 2012. The volume of both short-term and long-term loans increased (15% in total), including the 12% of the loans financed by foreign capital. The volume of the securities other than shares increased slightly as well (7%). Similarly to 2012, social security funds did not contribute to the general government sector debt as at the end of 2013 either.

Surplus/deficit and debt level of the general government in Estonia, 2007–2013

Diagram: Surplus/deficit and debt level of the general government in Estonia, 2007–2013

In Estonia the general government sector comprises three sub-sectors: 1) central government (state budget units and extra-budgetary funds, foundations, legal persons in public law); 2) local governments (city and rural municipality governments with their subsidiary units, foundations); 3) social security funds (Health Insurance Fund, Unemployment Insurance Fund).

Eurostat is going to publish the data on the preliminary debt and deficit levels of the Member States on 23 April.

On 21 May 2013, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 on the European system of national and regional accounts in the European Union (ESA 2010). From 1 September 2014, all Member States will change the current methodology, ESA 95, to a new methodology, ESA 2010. Statistics Estonia will publish the usual data for the general government’s deficit and debt levels according to the new methodology on 23 September 2014.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Estonian kayak manufacturer becomes one of Europe’s top three makers

Tahe Kayaks that manufacturers canoes and kayaks has acquired French Egalis, Europe’s leading manufacturer of kayaks, for less than EUR 4m, writes Äripäev.

The acquisition means that Tahe Kayaks is now among Europe’s three largest makers.

Read more from BBN

Number of households with children is decreasing

According to the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census (PHC 2011), there were 599,832 households in Estonia. Compared to the previous, 2000 Population Census, the share of households with children younger than 18 years of age has decreased from 33.6% to 25.2%.

In 2011, one-family households  accounted for 56.7% of all households (i.e. households with married or cohabiting  couples or households with lone parent), where 75.7% of household members  lived. Compared to 2000, the share of households with cohabiting couples has  increased (from 10.1% to 13.6%) and the share of households with married  couples has decreased (from 36.8% to 30.1%). The share of households with lone  parents among one-family households has decreased by 1.7 percentage points. The  number and share of households with one member has increased considerably.

There were a few multi-family  households in Estonia, where e.g. the family of grandparents and younger  generation lived together (1.6%), there were also a few non-family households  with several members (1.8%) (e.g. households where two sisters or brothers or a  grandparent with a grandchild lived together).

In 2000, there were children  younger than 18 years of age in every third household (33.6%), in 2011 only in  every fourth household (25.2%). The number of households with children aged  less than 18 years decreased by more than 44,000, of which the number of  households with one child decreased over 25,000 and the number of families with  several children over 19,000.

The younger the children, the more  often they live with cohabiting parents (41.3% of children aged less than 3 years,  20.5% of children aged 12–17). The older the children, the more often they live  in families of lone parents (16.8% of children aged less than 3 years, 28% of  children aged 12–17). The last fact characterises the trend of decay of  families – many children are not born in the families of lone parents, but stay  living with one parent as a result of the decay of the family.

Although the number of permanent  residents has decreased by more than 75,000 persons compared to 2000, in 2011  the number of households has grown by 3%. This has brought along the decrease in  the size of the average household from 2.33 members to 2.13 members. The share  of one-member households has grown significantly (from 33.5% to 39.9%, but the  share of households larger than average, first and foremost households with 3  and 4 members has decreased (from 18.8% to 15.9% and from 13.3% to 10.5%,  respectively).

There are several  reasons for the above mentioned changes. Firstly, compared to the 2000 Census  the number of children younger than 18 years of age in total population has  declined by 74,000. That is the reason why the number and share of households  with children has decreased significantly, but in general the households with  children aged less than 18 years are households with the biggest number of  members. Secondly, the share of elderly people in population has increased who  usually live alone or two together. The third reason is connected with the  improvement of living conditions, as a result of which households connecting  several families have often decayed and families have started to live  separately. This is shown by the changes in the structure of households as well  as in the size of living area and number of dwellings. Fourthly, the number of  one-member households has increased on account of the growth in the number of  students by more than 11,000.

Read more from Statistics Estonia blog