Statistics Estonia: Increased imports cause higher April trade deficit

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According to data released by Statistics Estonia, in April 2022, Estonia's exports increased by 4 percent and imports by 31 percent in comparison to April 2021. Faster growth in imports contributed significantly to the increase of trade deficit, which reached €542 million in April.

In April 2022, Estonia's exports amounted to nearly €1.6 billion and imports to €2.1 billion at current prices, meaning the trade deficit grew by €439 million compared to the same month in 2021.

Evelin Puura, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that the main contributor to April's large trade deficit was mineral fuels, where imports were €228 million higher than exports. "The biggest recorded rise was in the import of mineral fuels from Lithuania (up by €87 million), followed by Finland (up by €78 million), and Russia (up by €33 million)," said Puura.

The commodities Estonia exported most of in April 2022 were wood and articles of wood (including coniferous wood strips, planed fir boards, and glue-laminated timber), mineral fuels and electricity, as well as electrical equipment.

Exports of wood and articles of wood saw a €46 million growth in comparison to April 2021, which was the biggest increase of any commodity group recorded in the data set.

According to Statistics Estonia, agricultural products and food preparations (including rapeseed oil, raw milk and cheeses) rose by €32 million, while miscellaneous manufactured articles (including prefabricated wooden buildings) grew by €21 million.

The biggest decreases occurred in exports of mineral fuels, and electrical equipment. The former fell by €51 million, with the latter experiencing a €33 million drop.

Estonia's top partner country for exports was Finland, followed by Latvia and Sweden. "The main commodities exported were metal structures and engine parts to Finland, electricity and automobiles to Latvia, and communication equipment and prefabricated wooden buildings to Sweden. The biggest increase occurred in exports to Latvia, Finland, and Sweden. More electricity was exported to Latvia, there were larger dispatches of metal structures to Finland and prefabricated wooden buildings to Sweden," added Puura.

Re-exports from Estonia increased by 16 percent during April 2022, while exports of domestic goods remained at the same level as last April. Goods of Estonian origin accounted for 70 percent of total exports. In the case of goods of Estonian origin, the biggest rise occurred in the exports of wood and articles of wood, prefabricated wooden buildings, as well as base metals and articles of base metal (metal structures).

Estonia's foreign trade by month 2020-2022 Source: Statistics Estonia

The main commodities imported to Estonia were mineral fuels and electricity, base metals and articles of base metal, transport equipment, and electrical equipment. Mineral fuel (including natural gas and motor fuel) and electricity imports increased by €222 million, which was the highest of the commodity groups during this period. This was followed by imports of base metals and articles of base metal, which grew by €60 million, and a €40 million rise in imports of wood and articles of wood.

The top partner countries for Estonia's imports in April 2022, were Finland, Lithuania, and Russia, with imports from Finland, Lithuania and Latvia accounting for the biggest rises. Estonia imported greater amounts of motor spirit and electricity from Finland, more motor fuel from Lithuania, and increased quantities of natural gas from Latvia compared to the same month last year.

More detailed information can be found on Statistics Estonia's website

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Editor: Michael Cole

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