Estonia's foreign trade has returned to pre-crisis level

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A truck crossing the Estonian-Latvian border. Source: ERR

In the first quarter of 2021, the exports of services grew by 2 percent and imports of services by 51 percent year on year, data from Statistics Estonia and the Bank of Estonia show.

Estonian economic entities exported and imported services for €1.6 billion. The imports of services increased mainly on account of growth in telecommunications, computer and information services.

The trade deficit in foreign trade in services was €52 million, having increased by 515 million euros compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Rita Medzyte, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that as of this year Statistics Estonia collects the data of foreign trade in services with the aim of getting a more precise overview of exports and imports.

"Statistics on foreign trade in services allow Estonian enterprises to position themselves more accurately in new or existing markets, assess the market share of their service in different countries and find new potential destination countries for their services," added Medzyte.

The most exported services were transport services, followed by other business services and telecommunications, computer and information services. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, the biggest increase, of €142 million, occurred in the exports of telecommunications, computer and information services, followed by the exports of transport services, which grew by €37 million. The exports of transport services increased overall; however, the exports of passenger transport services decreased. The biggest decline was in the exports of travel services (down by €135 million) and maintenance and repair services (down by €52 million).

Estonia's biggest services export partner was Finland, with business, transport and construction services supplied the most. Services exports to Finland also decreased the most: this was due to a smaller volume of travel services. The following biggest export partners were Sweden and the USA. Exports to Malta increased the most: primarily due to growth in the volume of exports of transport services and telecommunications, computer and information services.

The most imported services were telecommunications, computer and information services and transport services. The biggest year-on-year growth was recorded for telecommunications, computer and information services (up by €632) and other business services (up by €43 million). Imports of travel services decreased the most: by €155 million.

Services were imported the most from Germany, led by telecommunications, computer and information services, transport services and business services. The next in ranking were Finland and Lithuania. The imports of services declined the most from Finland, and this was also due to a smaller volume of imported travel services. Imports grew the most from Germany on account of purchasing more telecommunications, computer and information services.

Estonia's foreign trade in services, 2017-2021. Source: Statistics Estonia.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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