Statistics: Trade deficit nearly doubles on year to 2022, to €3.3 billion

Port of Muuga, just east of Tallinn.
Port of Muuga, just east of Tallinn. Source: ERR

Estonia's trade deficit stood at €3.3 billion, up by €1.5 billion year-on-year, state agency Statistics Estonia reports.

Imports of goods rose 23 percent between 2021 and 2022, the agency says, while exports of goods rose by 17 percent over the same time-frame.

Imports and exports in December 2022 alone were largely unchanged on the same month in 2021, Statistics Estonia goes on.

Statistics Estonia leading analyst Evelin Puura said 2022 was characterized by continuously surging raw material and energy prices, the Ukraine war, and sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

She said: "Prior to the imposition of sanctions, there was a significant increase in exports or imports of these goods.

"At the beginning of the year, price rises supported the increase in trade values, but in the second half of the year, the economic slowdown started to have an impact," Puura added.

Estonia exported goods to 190 countries and imported them from 156 states. "Our main trading partners were EU member states, which between them accounted for 70 percent of exports, and 78 percent of imports," Puura added.

In the second half of the year, exports of goods of Estonian origin began to fall significantly while re-exports increased, she noted.

In 2022, Estonia's exports of goods amounted to €21 billion, while imports came to €25 billion, at current prices.

The increase in the deficit was most affected by trade in raw materials and products of chemical industry, transport equipment, and mineral fuels. The largest surplus was recorded in the trade in wood and articles of wood and miscellaneous manufactured articles (including furniture, prefabricated wooden buildings).

In December 2022, both export and import values remained at the same level as they had been in 2021, when Estonia exported goods worth €1.7 billion and imported goods worth €1.9 billion.

The main export and import items were: Mineral fuels and electricity, electrical equipment, and agricultural products and food preparations.

The main destinations for exports were Latvia, Finland, and Sweden, whereas most imports came from Finland, Germany, and Latvia, the agency says.

Foreign trade on month. Source: Statistics Estonia

Exports: Quick facts

Finland was Estonia's most significant export partner in 2022, making up 15 percent of the total and closely followed by Latvia with 14 percent, and Sweden with 9 percent.

  • Main commodities exported: Mineral fuels and electricity, electrical equipment, and wood and articles of wood.
  • Compared with 2021, the biggest rise was posted in the exports of mineral fuels and electricity, agricultural products and food preparations, and wood and articles of wood.
  • The largest fall was recorded in the exports of electrical equipment.
  • The biggest increase by country was seen in exports to Latvia (up by €1.2 billion), Finland (up by €475 million), and Sweden (up by €281 million).
  • Compared with the year before, more electricity, natural gas, agricultural products, and food preparations were exported to Latvia, electrical equipment, base metals and articles of base metal to Finland, and electrical equipment and wood and articles of wood to Sweden.
  • Re-exports from Estonia grew by 42 percent, while exports of domestic goods increased by 7 percent. The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports was 66 percent.
  • The decline in the share of domestic goods in total exports compared with the year earlier has been most affected by the fall in exports of processed fuels and communication equipment.
  • Exports fell most to the U.S. (down by €513 million, primarily relating to communications equipment) and the Netherlands (fell by €264 million, predominantly mineral fuels).
  • The most important commodities exported to Finland were: Base metals and articles of base metal (flat-rolled products, metal structures), agricultural products and food preparations (including cheese, cereals, rapeseed, pastries, sauces), electrical equipment (including electric motors and their parts, transformers, distribution boards).
  • Exports to Latvia included electricity, natural gas, food preparations (including crude milk, meat products), and transport equipment (including automobiles, goods vehicles).
  • The main commodities exported to Sweden were: Communication equipment, wood and articles of wood (including wood strips, doors, windows) and prefabricated wooden buildings.

Imports: Quick facts

  • The top import countries of origin in 2022 were Finland (16 percent of total imports), Lithuania, Germany, and Latvia (10 percent each).
  • Compared with 2021, the largest rise was recorded in imports from Finland (up by €1.1 billion), followed by Lithuania with a rise of €731 million, and Latvia (up by €625 million).
  • Compared with 2021, more electricity and motor fuel from Finland, natural gas, food preparations, and communication equipment from Latvia, and motor fuels and food preparations from Lithuania were imported to Estonia.
  • The biggest decrease occurred in imports from Belarus (down by €484 million) and Russia (down by €293 million).
  • Main commodities imported to Estonia were: Mineral fuels and electricity, electrical equipment, base metals and articles of base metal, and mechanical appliances.
  • The biggest increases were seen in imports of mineral fuels and electricity (of €1.6 billion), agricultural products and food preparations (of €485 million), and mechanical appliances (€343 million).
Foreign Trade Source: Statistics Estonia
Import/Export Source: Statistics Estonia
Foreign trade main partners. Source: Statistics Estonia

Statistics Estonia conducted the above research on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

(Even) more detailed information is here, here and here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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