Estonian exports decrease in March 2018, imports rise

Exports and manufacturing (Ericsson plant in Tallinn pictured) Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

According to a report from Statistics Estonia, Estonian exports fell by 3% year on year (y-o-y) in March 2018. Conversely, imports into Estonia rose by 4% when compared with March 2017.

Total volume of exports from Estonia in March 2018 amounted to €1.1 billion, with imports at €1.4 billion, and a trade defecit of €228 million (up from €142 million in March 2017).

In the first quarter (Q1) of the current year, exports increased by 6% and imports by 2%, compared to the same period of 2017.

The status quo was maintained during the period as regards the usual suspects in export destinations and import countries of origin.

Top export destinations were Finland (16% of total exports) with Sweden and Latvia accounting for 12% and 9% of Estonian exports respectively.

The principal exports to both Finland and Sweden were electrical equipment, with Sweden also buying a lot of wooden products from Estonia. The primary exports to Latvia however were agricultural products and other foodstuffs including beer and cider, as well as re-exported cars.

Such changes as there were in the export landscape over the preceding year included a rise in exports to Singapore and Australia to the tune of €16 and €18 million respectively, principally mineral products (which helped alleviate somewhat of a decline in exports of same to the Netherlands).

The aforementioned products made up the lion's share of total exports to all countries – electrical equipment making up 17% of the total and wooden items and mineral products both 12%.

Winners and losers amongst total exported products included mechanical appliances which saw a rise of €19 million and electrical equipment and base metals/base metal products (a major export to Finland) which saw a similar fall in total value exported.

Of total exports, 70% were of Estonian origin and the rest were re-exports from elsewhere. The latter increased by a few per cent on the former, y-o-y, with Estonian-origin electrical equipment and foodstuffs being amongst those products which saw a fall in export volume.

Imports came primarily from Germany and Finland (12% share each) during the same period, with Sweden just behind at 11%. Electrical equipment and transport-related items were the main imports from these countries.
One significant change in the import landscape was an 11-fold rise in the amount of imports from Belarus, which primarily consisted of fuel additives and other motor products, something which also saw an growth in imports from a neighbouring, albeit EU state, Lithuania.

Other important imports to Estonia included mineral products which saw the biggest increase of any particular commodity at €73 million, with an increase of €14 million in base metals and their derivatives over the same time frame, yet the greatest decreases also occurred in the areas of raw materials and industrial chemical products, which saw a €12 million fall y-o-y.

Taking the first quarter of 2018 as a whole, exports stood at €3.3 billion and imports a bit higher at €3.8 billion with a trade deficit of €541 million (compared with €652 million for the Q1 of 2017).

Mineral prodcuts (up by €100 million), mechanical appliances (€48 million increase) and transport equipment (a €26 million rise) were the strong players here with Singapore, Finalnd, Canada and Germany seeing the strongest rises as export destinations across the quarter as a whole.

Mineral products also saw the biggest growth in import volumes, with an increase in value of €109 million in the first quarter of 2018, with mechanical appliances (up by €73 million) and base metals and their derived prodcuts (up by €55 million) also growing significantly.

In Q1 2018, the growth in imports was affected the most by an increase in the imports of mineral products (up by €109 million), mechanical appliances (up by €73 million), and base metals and articles of base metal (up by €55 million).

Again, imports from Belarus saw the greatest y-o-y increase in Q1 of 2018, along with those from Sweden and Latvia, and those from Finland decreased the most in the same time frame.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Statistics Estonia

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