Baltics most vulnerable to Russia food sanctions - EBRD

  • 2014-09-11
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

(photo: flickr)

Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia are the countries most vulnerable to a Russian block on EU food exports imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said.

Moscow leveled a one-year ban on a long list of food products from the West after the European Union and United States imposed their own range of sanctions to punish what they describe as Russia's military aggression in Ukraine.

The Russian measures apply to fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, Norway and the United States.

But the Baltics are the hardest hit, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said.

"The export data indicates that the most affected country will likely be Lithuania, where food exports to Russia amount to 2.7 percent of GDP," said a report published on the EBRD website.

The bans "may have a noticeable effect on exports and GDP in the Baltic states, Norway, Poland and Hungary, as their food exports to Russia make a substantial contribution to their GDP."

The London-based bank also noted that "in Russia the ban is likely to push up inflation and somewhat trim GDP''.

"The overall GDP effect appears to be less potent in other sanctioned economies where shares of food exports to Russia are less than half a percentage point of GDP."

The bank said exports from central and southeastern Europe to Ukraine and Russia have already fallen since Russia imposed the ban in August.

The EU apple market has notably been hit hard, with prices plummeting and a glut expected in Poland, the world's top apple exporter.

"If Russia's ban persists, it may nudge upwards world prices of affected goods, though it may temporarily reduce prices of goods supplied by the EU," the bank said.

But it added that the economic impact could be mitigated if some of the banned exports find their way into the Russian market via re-exports from third states.