Economic growth rate accelerated in the 1st quarter

news release no 64

According to Statistics Estonia, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia increased 4.4% in the 1st quarter of 2017 compared to the 1st quarter of the previous year.

In the 1st quarter, the GDP at current prices was 5.2 billion euros. The seasonally and working-day adjusted GDP grew by 0.8% compared to the 4th quarter of 2016 and by 4.0% compared to the 1st quarter of 2016.

In the 1st quarter of 2017, the GDP was driven the most by manufacturing. The main contributors to the growth of manufacturing were the increased manufacture of fabricated metal products, motor vehicles, and food products and beverages. Also trade and construction activities contributed significantly to the economic growth. In the 1st quarter, the growth in trade was encouraged by wholesale trade.

Although net taxes on products increased at currents prices, the GDP growth was slowed down by the net taxes on products at real prices. The VAT receipts increased but excise tax receipts declined compared to the same period of the previous year.

The GDP grew faster than the number of persons employed, while the growth rate remained below the change in the number of hours worked. The number of persons employed increased by 2.2% and the number of hours worked by 4.4% (productivity has been calculated on the basis of seasonally and working-day adjusted figures). Therefore, labour productivity per employee increased 1.8% but decreased 0.4% per hour worked. In the 1st quarter of 2017, unit labour costs increased 2.7% compared to the same quarter of the previous year, indicating that compensation per employee has grown faster than productivity.

The real exports of goods and services increased for the fifth quarter in a row, being affected the most by an increase in the exports of transport equipment, mineral products (incl. petrol, diesel, fuel oils, gas) and products of wood.

The imports of goods and services increased, which was mainly due to the growth in the imports of transport equipment and basic metals. Exports of goods and services continued to be higher than imports. Net export (i.e. the difference between export and import) was positive in the 1st quarter of 2017, amounting to 2.3% of the GDP.

Estonia’s economy was positively influenced by domestic demand, which increased 3.6% at real prices, mainly due to a surge in investments. Also, final consumption expenditures grew.

The gross fixed capital formation increased 16.5% at real prices, mainly due to increased investments in transport equipment and machinery and equipment by non-financial enterprises. Also, investments in buildings and structures by the government and the non-financial enterprises sectors increased substantially.

The growth in household final consumption expenditures slowed down. In the 1st quarter of 2017, the household final consumption expenditures grew 0.6% compared to the 1st quarter of 2016.

Although domestic demand grew slower than the GDP, the final consumption expenditures and gross capital formation together were larger than the GDP.

Contribution to the GDP growth, 1st quarter 2017

On 31 August 2017, Statistics Estonia will release the regular revision for 2013–2016 based on supply and use tables and annual business reports. The updated data for the 1st quarter of 2017 will be published on the same date.

For the statistical activity “National accounts”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Finance, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia performs this statistical activity.

For further information:

Annika Laarmaa
Leading Statistician-Methodologist
Economic and Environmental Statistics Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel. +372 625 9353

More detailed data have been published in the Statistical Database.