Services exports greatly outperform imports
Data from Statistics Estonia and the Bank of Estonia suggests Estonia's services exports grew by 79 percent, while imports of services fell by 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021 year on year. In all, exports of services grew by 47 percent and imports by 28 percent compared to 2020.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Estonia's exports of services amounted to €2.7 billion and imports to €1.7 billion. The balance of foreign trade in services was in surplus by €934 million euros, which is €418 million more than in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Evelin Puura, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that the strong growth in exports of services was influenced by the low reference base of the fourth quarter of 2020 as well as by increased sale of services. "Looking at foreign trade as a whole, including trade in both services and goods, it is good to see that the volume of services exports balances out the high imports of goods and thereby ensures the positive balance of Estonia's foreign trade as a whole," Puura added.
Transport and other business services topped exports, as well as telecommunications, computer and information services. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, the biggest increase occurred in the exports of transport services (up by €368 million) and charges for the use of intellectual property (up by €263 million). Freight transport by road and sea was the biggest driver of transport services exports. A decrease was recorded only in the exports of construction services, which fell by €10 million.
Estonia's main services exports destination was Finland, followed by Germany and Sweden. The biggest increase occurred in exports to Germany and Finland. The exports of charges for the use of intellectual property grew the most in exports to Germany. In exports to Finland, the exports of travel services increased the most.
Finland was also responsible for most services imports, with emphasis on transport services and other business services to Estonia. Finland was followed by Germany and Latvia. Imports from Finland grew the most, by €19 million. At the same time, there was a decrease in imports of telecommunications, computer and information services from Germany, which fell by nearly €1.3 billion.
In 2021, exports and imports of services were at a record level compared to 2020. Estonia's exports of services totalled €8.4 billion euros and imports nearly €7 billion. Both exports and imports were influenced the most by increased trade in transport services, telecommunications, computer and information services, and other business services. Decreases were only recorded in the exports of construction and maintenance services, and in the imports of construction services.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski