Estonia labor cost increase in Q2 2019 higher than EU average

15.09.19 ... Labor costs in Estonia grew by significantly more than the European Union average in the second quarter of 2019 (Q2 2019), Baltic News Service reports.

Aidu developers: Authorities not playing ball on Supreme Court judgement

15.09.19 ... The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has yet to remove surveillance cameras from the site of the under-construction Aidu wind farm in Ida-Viru County, the site's developers claim, despite a ruling by the Supreme Court last week that construction permits held by the developers are valid. The developers also say the consumer authority is not honoring its requirements in the matter.

High street bank SEB updating older PIN calculator models

14.09.19 ... High street bank SEB is phasing out older models of Personal Identification (PIN) calculators for customer authentication.

Interior minister: Highway building may use private sector, Estonian labor

13.09.19 ... The Estonian government is pressing ahead with Public-Private partnership (PPP) plans for developing Estonia's highways, with the ultimate goal that they would all be four-lane. The issue of the Tallinn to Tartu highway in particular going four-lane has been on the table for successive Estonian governments, with work underway on some stretches already.

Daily: Study says Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel could bring Estonia €50 million

13.09.19 ... A recent study ordered by Peter Vesterbacka's Finest Bay Area and carried out by Finnish pollster Taloustutkimus concludes that the construction and operation until 2050 of the Helsinki-Tallinn undersea tunnel would add approximately €300 million to the two countries' economies, with €47 million expected to come Estonia's way, the daily Postimees reports.

Air Baltic continues to make losses but still flies on

12.09.19 ... Latvian national carrier Air Baltic has posted a loss of €26.6 million for the first half of 2019, a rise in losses of over 70 percent year-on-year (y-o-y). Air Baltic made losses of €15.5 million over the same period last year. The picture, however, is far from clear, as the company has previously revised profit and loss announcements. At the same time, CEO of Regional Jet, a subsidiary of Air Baltic competitor Nordica, says the company should have folded long ago.

SDE asks foreign trade minster Kert Kingo for account of her work to date

12.09.19 ... Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has asked Minister for Foreign Trade and IT Kert Kingo (EKRE) to give an account of how she spends her working day, on what, and when she has attended international meetings relevant to her role.

Construction boss deines Savisaar bribery allegations in court

12.09.19 ... Construction business chief Aivar Tuulberg appeared at Harju County court Thursday, Baltic News Service reports, for his part of the ongoing Edgar Savisaar corruption hearings, where he denied trying to bribe the former mayor. Tuulberg is one of six businessmen charged with involvement, which also saw the Centre Party, which Savisaar co-founded, face charges. The allegations mostly surround the awarding of the Kultuurikatel Creative Hub in Tallinn to Rand & Tuulberg, as well as procurement for the Kalev sports stadium.

Regional Jet business model seems to pay off as company posts first profits

11.09.19 ... Regional Jet, the subsidiary of state-owned airline Nordica, co-owned by Polish airline LOT, says that it expects profits of €3.5 million for 2019, with that figure projected to almost triple within a few years. The subsidiary is one bright spot in Estonian aviation, dogged as it has been with competitiveness issues as first state-owned carrier Estonian Air went bankrupt, then successor airline Nordica became mired with problems as it cut international flights from Tallinn.

Gender pay gap 8.5 percent in public administration jobs

11.09.19 ... The gender pay gap in public administration jobs was 8.5 percent in 2018, meaning if a man had earned €1,000 a month gross, a woman would have earned €915.

Estonia's proposed 2020 migration quota to be one fewer than 2019

11.09.19 ... The Estonian Ministry of the Interior will make a proposal to set the immigration quota for 2020 at 1,314 aliens, one person fewer than the quota for this year.

Rimi to launch online store in Estonia in 2020

11.09.19 ... The Rimi supermarket chain is looking to open an online store in Estonia next spring, while the retailer's online shopping platform in Latvia will be launched in October this year.

2018 civil service pay €1,711 a month, rises highest in local authorities

11.09.19 ... While wages in the civil service as a whole grew in line with the national average in 2018, local government officials saw a more rapid salary rise, helped along by administrative reform. However, local government staff were paid less on average than the overall figure for civil servants, though the overall figure for civil servants was higher than the national average. In general, those areas of the public sector with the lowest wages saw the highest increases.

Survey: Transferwise top employer pick for students, in diverse list

11.09.19 ... According to a recent survey, secure payment solutions firm Transferwise is the most attractive employer in Estonia among students. Microsoft Estonia (which includes Skype) came in second, sales-focused customer relations platform provider Pipedrive was in third place, with public broadcaster ERR in sixth. Overall, the top 10 was quite diverse, and included two banks, four technology companies and a government ministry.

Statistics: Exports decreased in July while imports increased

10.09.19 ... Estonian exports decreased by two percent in July while goods imported increased by five percent. The amount of exported products of Estonian origin also decreased to its lowest share in recent years.

Ministry of Finance forecasting €69 million more tax revenue for 2019

09.09.19 ... According to the summer forecast of the Estonian Ministry of Finance, altogether €69 million more in taxes will be paid into the state budget this year than estimated in the spring forecast.

Pensions to increase by eight percent in April 2020

09.09.19 ... Pensions will increase by an average of eight percent next year, it was announced at the summer economic forecast presentation on Monday. This increase will see the average pension increase to over €500.

Finance Ministry forecast economic growth of 3.3 percent

09.09.19 ... The economy will grow by 3.3 percent this year, the Finance Ministry said while delivering its summer economic forecast on Monday. However, growth is expected to slow down over the next few years.

SDE: Demolition of Estonian pension system must be stopped

08.09.19 ... All responsible members of the Riigikogu and non-parliamentary interest groups should prevent the disruption of the pension system and protect the future of the Estonian people, the extended board of the Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) said on Saturday.

Ministry forecasts 2.2 percent GDP growth ahead of state budget finalizing

07.09.19 ... The finance ministry has predicted a 2.2 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product for the next year, with nominal economic growth, including inflation forecast for 5.1 percent.

Research finds public not clear on second pillar pension reform

06.09.19 ... If the law making the so-called second pillar pension contributions becomes reality, close to half of those already in the system would continue, with a slightly smaller figure saying they would take the money, according to recent research, which reveals possible divided opinion on the matter as well as a lack of clarity on how pension reform may pan out.

Statistics: Inflation 2.4 percent on year to August, food biggest influence

06.09.19 ... Consumer price index inflation rose by 2.4 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) to August 2019, with changes in food and transport sector prices exerting the most influence.

11,000 job vacancies in Estonia in second quarter

06.09.19 ... There were more than 11,000 job vacancies in Estonia in the last quarter, figures released by Statistics Estonia show, a decrease of two percent compared to the same time period in 2018.

Plans for minimum wage increase not approved by unions

05.09.19 ... The council of the Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) disagreed with raising the minimum wage to €578 per month and €3.44 per hour, as previously agreed by trade union and employer delegations, calling it "inadequate".

Increase in tourists staying overnight and using airports

05.09.19 ... Tourists staying overnight in Estonia increased by four percent in July 2019 compared with the same time period last year, figures from Statistics Estonia show.

Chief financial officer latest Nordica casualty

04.09.19 ... Chief financial officer and board member of state-owned airline Nordica Kristi Ojakäär has stepped down from her role. Ojakäär joined the airline in early 2019 and has cited fresh challenges outside the aviation sector as her motivation.

Audit Office: State must consider options in Saaremaa/Hiiumaa ferry service

04.09.19 ... The National Audit Office (Riigikontroll) has analysed the cost of maintaining the ferry connection with Estonia's two largest islands, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. The analysis has found an increase in volume of passengers and vehicles using the services, under the current, 10-year, contract which began in 2016. This has however cost the state more, and the analysis also looks at the reasons for this and possible options open to the government in maintaining the links.

Estonia's 2018 financial statements accurate, says audit office

03.09.19 ... The Estonian state's financial statements for 2018 are in their essentials accurate, giving a true and fair view of the financial position, performance and cash flow, according to the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll).

Tallinna Vesi applies to Competition Authority for 20 percent tariff cut

03.09.19 ... Privately-owned water company Tallinna Vesi, which supplies all of Tallinn's water supply, wastewater services etc., has submitted an application to the Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) to reduce its prices by close to 20 percent. The application follows a Supreme Court decision in 2017 which prevented the company from setting its own tariffs.

ID Global Solutions awarded Estonian passport contract from 2021

03.09.19 ... The tender for producing Estonian passports from 2021 has been awarded to U.K. company ID Global solutions, in a deal signed Friday, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

Swedbank to lower second pillar pension fund fees

02.09.19 ... From Monday, high street bank Swedbank is altering the limit on investing in shares across all its second pillar pension funds. This should allow for higher returns in the long run, with the bank also significantly lowering the fees of second pillar pension funds, Baltic News Service reports.

Gunnar Kobin steps down as Nordica CEO before taking up post

02.09.19 ... Gunnar Kobin, appointed CEO of state-owned airline Nordica in June, will now not be taking up his post. Kobin stepped down from the role in early August, nearly a month before his start date, but this, as well as the identity of his replacement, was leaked Monday ahead of Nordica making the announcement themselves, according to ERR's online news in Estonian.

Minimum monthly wage likely to be €578 after unions', employers' deal

02.09.19 ... The Estonian minimum wage is likely to be set at €578 per month, following an agreement between representatives of employers and employees struck Thursday, Baltic News Service reports.

Unemployment benefits should not be raised, says employers' body

02.09.19 ... The Estonian Employers' Confederation (ETTK) says that unemployment insurance (Töötukassa) benefits and other related benefits should not be increased significantly from current levels, as this may weaken incentives for staying in employment and engaging in self-development, as well as increasing the tax burden. In this, the ETTK is in accord with the Ministry of Social Affairs, though the ETTK would even prefer benefits to be lowered, Baltic News Service reports.

Statistics: Electricity production falls by 61 per cent on year, to July

02.09.19 ... Production by industrial enterprises decreased by 5 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in July, Statistics Estonia reported. The decline was fueled by decreases in both energy and mining output, though production increased in manufacturing over the same time frame. Electricity production saw a large fall y-o-y.

Gallery: IKEA Estonia launches online store, opens limited Tallinn location

30.08.19 ... IKEA Estonia launched its online store as well as its first brick-and-mortar location, a limited showroom and pickup point, in the Lasnamäe district of Tallinn on Thursday. The Swedish furniture giant's Estonian online store saw over 100,00 unique visitors on its first day.

Bolt's 2018 revenue grew fourfold, losses totaled €61 million

30.08.19 ... The revenue of Estonia's international ride-hailing platform Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, grew from €21.1 million in 2017 to €79.7 million in 2018. Its losses, meanwhile, totaled €61 million due to expansion-related investments.

Central Bank: 'Three major causes' for economic slowdown

30.08.19 ... The Bank of Estonia said there were three main reasons for the slowdown in economic growth, which included the decreased competitiveness of shale oil.

Second quarter economic growth slows, up 3.6 percent on year

30.08.19 ... According to information released by Statistics Estonia on Friday, Estonia's GDP increased 3.6 percent in the second quarter of 2019.

Retail turnover continues to increase in July

30.08.19 ... Retail turnover in Estonia increased by five percent in July 2019 compared to July of last year, equaling €661 million, figures from Statistics Estonia show.

Bolt teams up with University of Tartu to launch self-driving tech research

29.08.19 ... Bolt, the Estonian-founded on-demand transportation platform, is partnering with the University of Tartu (TÜ) for an applied research project on the development of self-driving technology for a Level 4 autonomous car. This project will contribute to Bolt's vision of making moving around cities easier, faster and more reliable, the company said on Thursday.

Bank of Estonia to tighten housing loan risk assessments

29.08.19 ... As of Sept. 30, Swedbank and SEB Pank will be required to attribute a 15-percent risk weight to their housing loans when assessing their risk assets.

Survey: Estonians' interest in buying alcohol in Latvia beginning to wane

29.08.19 ... Of Estonian residents who have purchased alcohol in Latvia this year, just 11 percent do so at least once a month ⁠— down from 21 percent in March, it appears from a survey conducted by Kantar Emor in August.

Helme: Four lane roads, Muhu bridge possible with private sector projects

29.08.19 ... Finance Minister Martin Helme said that with cooperation between the public sector and the private sector, the Tallinn-Pärnu, Tallinn-Tartu and Tallinn-Narva roads could be reconstructed into four-lane highways within the coming years.

Manufacturing and trade boost business sector turnover in second quarter

29.08.19 ... In the second quarter of 2019 there was an increase of six percent in businesses selling goods and services compared to 2018. In total this amounted to €16.2 billion.

Gallery: First passengers ride driverless bus in Tallinn

29.08.19 ... The first passengers traveled by self driving bus in Kadriorg, Tallinn after a new bus line was launched on Wednesday.

Gallery: IKEA gives sneak peek at Tallinn location opening Thursday

28.08.19 ... While not yet opening a full-sized store, Thursday will mark Swedish furniture giant IKEA's entry into the Estonian market with both the launch of its online store and the opening of a limited brick-and-mortar location in Tallinn featuring an online order pickup point and showroom.

SEB Analyst: wage increases expected, but some companies reaching pay limit

28.08.19 ... Last quarter's wage increases were expected, SEB economic analyst Mihkel Nestor said on Wednesday, but rising wages are pushing some industries to the limit.

Competition Authority rejects bill aiming to change network fee calculation

28.08.19 ... Amended legislation currently in the works for the Electricity Market Act calls for a change to how network fees are calculated. The Estonian Competition Authority doesn't think the change is justified, as it will make lowering network fees considerably harder and thus give what is already a monopoly even greater pricing power, while at the same time reducing the amount of the profits state-owned operator Elering allocates for the benefits of individual consumers.

Swedbank sets 2019 economic growth forecast at 3.3 percent

28.08.19 ... The Estonian economy is set to grow 3.3 percent this year; the deterioration of the external environment will likely deepen, however, resulting in economic growth slowing to 2.3 percent next year, Swedbank said on Tuesday.
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