SEB Analyst Warns of Dwindling GDP Growth ({{commentsTotal}})

Ruta Arumäe
Ruta Arumäe Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

SEB analyst Ruta Arumäe said this year's economic growth could end up being even lower than the bank had forecast three weeks ago in light of disappointing first quarter results.

SEB had revised its previous 2013 GDP growth forecast of 3.7 percent down to 3.3 percent. But the annual figure could turn out to be even lower, Arumäe said, despite a minor positive revision today of first quarter results, bumped up a tenth of a percentage point to 1.1 percent.

"Such is the general economic outlook - growth is very inconsistent across sectors and volatile from quarter to quarter," Arumäe said.

The first quarter was put back by a lagging transport sector, as well as an expected decline in construction and a one-off impact from excise taxes - without which growth may have been at 2 percent, Arumäe said. Nor could private investments compensate for a scheduled decrease in public sector investments.

Nevertheless, domestic consumption and exports were strong. Those two factors could help boost second quarter growth results to at least 2 percent, Arumäe said.

The OECD recently downgraded its 2013 growth forecast for Estonia from 3.7 to 1.5 percent.