UNBALANCED LOAD: While exports are increasing, imports are keeping pace, which means no relief for the Baltics' current account woes.
TALLINN - Estonia is leading the Baltics in export growth, as exports have increased in the last five years by 2.1 times, compared to a two-fold growth in both Latvian and Lithuanian exports, according to Statistical Office data.
Imports have at the same time kept pace, showing an increase in volume by 2.1 times in both Estonia and Latvia, while in Lithuania the increase was slightly less, at 1.9 times. Despite strong continued growth in imports for 2006, a slight slowdown in export growth had a negative impact on Estonia's foreign trade balance.
The trade shortfall is growing in all three Baltics with increases growing over the last five years by 2.1 times in Estonia, 2.3 times in Latvia and 1.7 times in Lithuania. According to data by Eurostat, the combined Baltic states' export turnover in 2006 totaled 373 billion kroons (EUR 23.83 mln) of which Lithuania contributed 47 percent, Estonia 32 percent and Latvia 21 percent.
The three Baltic countries accounted for only a marginal 0.7 percent of the European Union's aggregate export volume. Estonian exports separately made up 0.2 percent of EU exports, ahead of only Latvia, Malta and Cyprus.
The Baltic states imported 549 billion kroons' worth of goods and services last year. Lithuania again took the largest share with 44 percent, followed by Estonia at 30 percent, and Latvia with 26 percent.
Baltic imports combined for a 0.9 percent share of the EU total number, with Estonia's share at 0.3 percent.