Trade imbalance continues to dog Estonian economy

  • 2007-08-01
  • Staff and wire reports
TALLINN - Preliminary numbers on Estonia's foreign trade balance for May 2007 showed a deficit of four billion kroons (260 million euros) as the country continues to import more than it exports. Figures for the same period last year show a 3.5 billion kroon shortfall, while April 2007 numbers reveal a trade balance of minus 4.8 billion kroons.

Foreign trade turnover totaled 27.2 billion kroons in May, up 11 percent compared to May 2006; compared to the previous month, turnover increased by 7 percent, according to the Statistics Office. May exports totaled 11.6 billion kroons, accounting for 43 percent of the foreign trade turnover. Imports took the balance, 57 percent, totaling 15.6 billion kroons.
A year-on-year comparison for exports in May shows an increase of 10 percent, with exports up 13 percent over the previous month. Outpacing year-on-year export growth, however, were import figures, up by 11 percent, though imports over the previous month showed a more modest rise of 4 percent.
Exports to EU countries made up 66 percent of the total with exports to CIS countries accounting for 10 percent of the total. In May 2006, the respective ratios were virtually the same, at 67 percent and 9 percent. Finland received the largest share of Estonia's exports, at 17 percent, followed by Sweden with 12 percent, with Latvia buying 10 percent of Estonian goods.

Imports from EU member states accounted for 76 percent of total imports during the month, with imports from the CIS states making up 16 percent of the total. In May 2006 imports from the European Union accounted for 77 percent of the total, with 15 percent from CIS states. Showing an almost equal exchange with their northern neighbor, imports from Finland made up 18 percent of all imports, from Russia 12 percent and shipments from Germany registered 12 percent.

The makeup of exports consists primarily of mineral products, metals and related products, agricultural and food products and wood products, all showing an increase from the previous year's results. Import items of significance include transport equipment, metals and related products, wood products, raw materials used in the chemicals industry and plastics and rubber products.