Statistics: Exports, imports fall by a quarter on year to May ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Timberwood and products made out of wood are a major Estonian export (photo is illustrative).
Timberwood and products made out of wood are a major Estonian export (photo is illustrative). Source: Jaanus Lensment/Postimees/Scanpix

Exports and imports in Estonia both declined by a quarter on year to May 2020, government agency Statistics Estonia reports. Imports from China did however rise slightly, driven mainly by consignments of personal protective equipment from that country during the coronavirus pandemic.

Evelin Puura, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said trade decreased the most with EU Member States during that time.

Exports

Exports decreased by €232 million and imports by €306 million, between May 2019 and May 2020, though the difference between April and May 2020, the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, was not significant.

Estonia's exports of goods amounted to €1 billion and imports to €1.09 billion at current prices.

"In May, trade decreased in most commodity sections, but, on the positive side, the month-on-month change was not very significant," Puura said.

Export destinations further away from Estonia were most affected during the pandemic; cargo transport by sea between Estonia and Finland, for instance, continued through the emergency situation while passenger travel ground to a halt.

The top destination country for exports was Finland, followed by Sweden and Latvia.

The largest decreases occurred in exports to Spain (down by €41 million), Finland, the USA and the Netherlands (all down by €34 million, Statistics Estonia says).

Compared with the preceding month, exports fell by 2 percent in May 2020 while imports remained the same.

Breakdown of imports and exports

  • The trade deficit was €84 million in May 2020, down from €16 million on year.
  • The major exports were electrical equipment, wood and articles made of wood, and mechanical appliances.
  • The major imports were mineral products, electrical equipment, agricultural products and food preparations.
  • The main countries of consignment were Finland, Russia and Latvia.
  • The largest fall in exports occurred with shale oil, prefab log houses and comms equipment.
  • Exports rose most to Canada (up by €10 million), mostly driven by consignments of refined motor spirit.
  • Imports decreased the most from Sweden (down by €71 million euros), Lithuania (€55 million) and Germany (€47 million).
  • Goods of Estonian origin accounted for 71 percent of the total exports of goods. Their exports decreased by 27 percent and re-exports by 18 percent, on month.
  • Imports of motor cars fell most from Sweden and Germany, ihe imports of fuels decreased the most from Lithuania.
  • Imports of goods increased the most from China and Switzerland (both up by €4 million), driven by a rise in imports of personal protective equipment from China and unwrought gold from Switzerland.
  • Goods of Estonian origin accounted for the biggest share in the commodity sections of wood and articles of wood at 96 percent, and in miscellaneous manufactured articles, such as furniture and log houses (91 percent).
  • Less shale oil was exported to Spain and the Netherlands in May 2020 compared with the previous May; fuel and lubricating oils fell in their exports to the U.S. and Finland.

More information is here and here. Statistics Estonia has visualized data of Estonia's foreign trade via its app here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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