Last year, trade increased

news release no 18

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2018, the exports of goods increased by 12% and imports by 10% compared to 2017. The exports and imports of mineral products had the greatest impact on trade growth in 2018.

In 2018, the exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 14.4 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 16.2 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit in 2018 was 1.8 billion euros, which is 69 million euros less compared to 2017. The largest surplus was in the trade in wood and articles of wood and miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture, prefabricated wood buildings); the largest deficit was registered in the trade in transport equipment and in raw materials and products of the chemical industry.

In 2018, the share of European Union countries in Estonia’s total exports was 68% and in total imports 78%. The trade deficit with other EU countries totalled 2.8 billion euros, which is 55 million euros less than in 2017. In trade with EU countries, exports increased by 6% and imports by 4%. Trade in goods with non-EU countries grew more – exports increased by 27% and imports by 37%. The trade surplus with non-EU countries was over 1 billion euros.

As in previous years, in 2018, electrical equipment was exported the most, accounting for 16% of Estonia’s total exports. Next came mineral products (15%) and wood and articles of wood (11%). The increase in exports was mostly affected by a rise in the exports of mineral products (up by 900 million euros), wood and articles of wood (up by 152 million euros) and mechanical appliances (up by 131 million euros). The biggest decrease in 2018 was recorded in the exports of agricultural products and food preparations.

The top destination countries of Estonia’s exports in 2018 were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports of goods), Sweden (11%) and Latvia (10%). Electrical equipment and base metals and articles of base metal were the main commodities exported to Finland; electrical equipment and wood and articles of wood were the main commodities exported to Sweden; mineral products, and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Latvia. The biggest increase occurred in exports to the USA, Singapore and Finland. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Sweden, the Netherlands and Russia.

The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports of goods was 72% in 2018. The exports of goods of Estonian origin increased by 12% and re-exports by 11% compared to 2017. In the exports of goods of Estonian origin, the greatest increase was in the exports of mineral products (incl. shale oil, solvent), wood and articles of wood (birch and pine pulpwood) and electrical equipment (data communication equipment). The main destination countries of goods of Estonian origin were Finland, Sweden and Germany. The biggest increase in the exports of goods of Estonian origin was in the exports to the USA and Singapore and the biggest decrease in the exports to Sweden.

The main commodities imported to Estonia were mineral products (15% of Estonia’s total imports of goods), electrical equipment (14%) and mechanical appliances, transport equipment, and agricultural products and food preparations (each 10%). The greatest increase was in the imports of mineral products (up by 1 billion euros), mechanical appliances (up by 208 million euros) and base metals and articles of base metal (up by 168 million euros).

The main countries of consignment in 2018 were Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports of goods), Germany and Lithuania (10% each). From Finland, mineral products, and electrical equipment were imported the most. Transport equipment and mechanical appliances were imported the most from Germany, and mineral products and agricultural products and food preparations from Lithuania. The biggest year-on-year increase occurred in imports from Russia (up by 484 million euros), Belarus (up by 342 million euros) and Lithuania (up by 187 million euros), with the largest increase in the imports of mineral products. At the same time, imports decreased the most from Poland and the Netherlands.

Estonia exported goods to 183 countries and imported goods from 143 countries. A positive foreign trade balance was recorded in the case of 139 countries. The biggest surplus was recorded in trade with the USA, followed by Norway and Singapore. The biggest deficit was recorded in trade with Germany, Lithuania and Poland.

In December 2018, exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 1.1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.3 billion euros. Compared to December 2017, exports increased by 6% and imports by 7%. In December 2018, the growth in exports and imports was affected the most by increase in the trade of mineral products.

Estonia\'s foreign trade by month, 2016–2018

Estonia’s foreign trade by month, 2017–2018
Month Exports, million euros Imports, million euros Balance, million euros
2017 2018 change, % 2017 2018 change, % 2017 2018
TOTAL 12,876 14,402 12 14,759 16,216 10 -1,884 -1,814
1st quarter 3,096 3,290 6 3,750 3,796 1 -654 -506
January 941 1,033 10 1,352 1,253 -7 -412 -220
February 974 1,116 15 1,075 1,201 12 -101 -85
March 1,182 1,141 -3 1,323 1,342 1 -141 -201
2nd quarter 3,268 3,694 13 3,725 4,147 11 -457 -453
April 1,029 1,192 16 1,214 1,341 10 -186 -149
May 1,151 1,236 7 1,305 1,405 8 -154 -168
June 1,089 1,266 16 1,206 1,402 16 -117 -136
3rd quarter 3,172 3,601 14 3,526 3,979 13 -354 -378
July 942 1,190 26 1,130 1,321 17 -188 -130
August 1,109 1,183 7 1,205 1,346 12 -96 -163
September 1,121 1,228 10 1,191 1,313 10 -70 -85
4th quarter 3,339 3,817 14 3,758 4,295 14 -419 -477
October 1,162 1,363 17 1,299 1,553 20 -137 -190
November 1,173 1,390 18 1,251 1,450 16 -78 -60
December 1,005 1,065 6 1,208 1,292 7 -204 -227
Main foreign trade partners of Estonia, 2018
Country of destination, group of countries Exports, million euros Share, % Change on previous year, % Country of consignment, group of countries Imports, million euros Share, % Change on previous year, %
TOTAL 14,402 100 12 TOTAL 16,216 100 10
EU-28 9,780 68 6 EU-28 12,617 78 4
Euro area 19 6,806 47 8 Euro area 19 9,074 56 4
Non-EU 4,622 32 27 Non-EU 3,599 22 37
1. Finland 2,288 16 10 1. Finland 2,088 13 1
2. Sweden 1,574 11 -9 2. Germany 1,694 10 6
3. Latvia 1,377 10 17 3. Lithuania 1,567 10 14
4. USA 929 6 - 4. Sweden 1,420 9 11
5. Germany 902 6 -3 5. Russia 1,414 9 52
6. Russia 875 6 -6 6. Latvia 1,371 8 10
7. Lithuania 789 5 4 7. Poland 979 6 -9
8. Norway 547 4 7 8. Netherlands 793 5 -9
9. Denmark 451 3 25 9. China 594 4 0
10. Netherlands 417 3 -12 10. United Kingdom 431 3 15
Exports and imports by commodity section, 2018
Commodity section (chapter) by Combined Nomenclature (CN) Exports Imports Balance, million euros
million euros share, % change on previous year, % million euros share, % change on previous year, %
TOTAL 14,402 100 12 16,216 100 10 -1,814
Agricultural products and food preparations (I–IV) 1,153 8 -3 1,545 10 0 -392
Mineral products (V) 2,164 15 71 2,473 15 71 -309
Raw materials and products of chemical industry (VI) 740 5 8 1,368 8 7 -628
Articles of plastics and rubber (VII) 430 3 3 843 5 5 -413
Wood and articles of wood (IX) 1,531 11 11 564 4 16 967
Paper and articles thereof (X) 363 3 5 268 2 -1 95
Textiles and textile articles (XI) 396 3 -1 673 4 1 -277
Base metals and articles of base metal (XV) 1,139 8 8 1,458 9 13 -319
Mechanical appliances (84) 1,212 8 12 1,692 10 14 -480
Electrical equipment (85) 2,279 16 3 2,228 14 1 50
Transport equipment (XVII) 900 6 0 1,672 10 -13 -772
Optical, measuring, precision instruments (XVIII) 416 3 6 380 2 11 36
Miscellaneous manufactured articles (XX) 1,205 8 7 397 3 -2 808
Other 475 3 8 655 4 5 -180

The statistics are based on the questionnaires “Intrastat” and “Exports (sale of fish and crustaceans in foreign waters and ports)”, the due dates of which were, respectively, 14 and 15 January 2019, and on the customs declaration data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, which were sent to Statistics Estonia on 21 January 2019. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary of foreign trade in 14 working days. In the case of the statistical activity “Foreign trade”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting the statistical activity.

For further information:

Evelin Puura
Leading Analyst
Enterprise and Agricultural Statistics Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9259

More detailed data have been published in the statistical database and pre-defined tables. Due to rounding, the sum of rows in some tables differ from the sum total of the column.