In March, trade increased with EU countries

news release no 54

According to Statistics Estonia, in March 2019, compared to March 2018, the exports of goods increased by 8% and imports by 5%. The trade growth was due to increased exports and imports with the European Union countries.

In March, exports from Estonia amounted to 1.2 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.4 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 177 million euros, which was 22 million euros less than in the same period last year.

In March, exports to EU Member States increased by 104 million euros and imports by 71 million euros. The share of the European Union was 72% in total exports and 80% in imports. The share of EU countries was previously this large in November 2017, and the share of imports, in May 2018.

In March, the top destination countries of Estonia’s exports were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports), Sweden (10%) and Latvia (9%). Electrical equipment and base metals and articles of base metal were the main commodities exported to Finland; miscellaneous manufactured articles, and wood and articles of wood to Sweden; transport equipment, and agricultural products and food preparations to Latvia. The biggest increases occurred in exports to the USA (up by 50 million euros), Denmark (up by 25 million euros) and Belgium (up by 20 million euros). In exports to the USA, the increase was largest in the exports of data communication equipment, to Denmark and Belgium, in the exports of mineral products. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Singapore (down by 19 million euros), where less mineral products were dispatched.

The biggest share in exports of goods was held by electrical equipment (15% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products, and wood and articles of wood (both 12%). The biggest increase was in the exports of base metals and articles of base metal (up by 22 million euros), and agricultural products and food preparations (up by 13 million euros). The biggest decrease occurred in exports of electrical equipment (down by 7 million euros).

The share of goods of Estonian origin in total exports was 72% in March. The exports of goods of Estonian origin grew by 8% and re-exports by 7% compared to March last year. In the exports of goods of Estonian origin, the biggest growth was in the exports of mineral products (shale spirit, aviation spirit, shale oil), miscellaneous manufactured articles (prefabricated wood buildings, furniture), base metals and articles of base metal (metal waste, metal structures).

In March, the main countries of consignment were Finland (13% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany and Sweden (both 11%) and Latvia (10%). Mineral products and base metals and articles of base metal were the main commodities imported from Finland, while from Germany, mechanical appliances and transport equipment, and from Sweden, transport equipment and electrical equipment were imported the most. Imports increased the most from Finland (up by 29 million euros), Latvia (up by 20 million euros) and Sweden (up by 18 million euros). From Finland and Latvia, imports of mineral products, and from Sweden, imports of transport equipment increased the most. Imports decreased the most from Belarus (down by 28 million euros), mainly due to decreased imports of mineral products.

The main commodities imported to Estonia were electrical equipment (13% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products and transport equipment (both 12%), and mechanical appliances (11%). The biggest increase was in the imports of base metals and articles of base metal (up by 20 million euros) and the biggest decrease in the imports of mineral products (down by 18 million euros).

In March 2019, compared to March 2018, the foreign trade export volume index decreased by 1% and the import volume index increased by 3%.

In the 1st quarter of 2019, exports from Estonia amounted to 3.6 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 3.9 billion euros. Compared to the 1st quarter of 2018, exports increased by 8% and imports by 4%. The trade deficit in the 1st quarter was 392 million euros (in the 1st quarter of 2017, it was 500 million euros).

In the 1st quarter of 2019, year-on-year, the growth in exports was supported by increased exports of wood and articles of wood (up by 44 million euros), base metals and articles of base metal (up by 30 million euros) and mechanical appliances (up by 28 million euros). In the comparison by countries, exports have increased the most to the USA, Denmark, Latvia and Finland.

In the 1st quarter, the growth in imports was affected the most by an increase in the imports of raw materials and products of chemical industry (up by 41 million euros), base metals and articles of base metal (up by 28 million euros), and agricultural products and food preparations (up by 18 million euros). By countries, imports in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the 1st quarter of 2018 grew the most from Lithuania, Sweden and Russia. Imports from Belarus decreased the most.

Estonia’s foreign trade by month, 2018–2019
Month Exports, million euros Imports, million euros Balance, million euros
2018 2019 change, % 2018 2019 change, % 2018 2019
1st quarter 3,296 3,555 8 3,796 3,947 4 -500 -392
January 1,035 1,160 12 1,253 1,283 2 -218 -122
February 1,118 1,165 4 1,201 1,257 5 -83 -92
March 1,143 1,230 8 1,342 1,407 5 -199 -177
Main foreign trade partners of Estonia, March 2019
Country of destination, group of countries Exports, million euros Share, % Change on same month of previous year, % Country of consignment, group of countries Imports, million euros Share, % Change on same month of previous year, %
TOTAL 1,230 100 8 TOTAL 1,407 100 5
EU-28 882 72 13 EU-28 1,131 80 7
Euro area 19 613 50 16 Euro area 19 798 57 7
Non-EU 347 28 -5 Non-EU 276 20 -2
1. Finland 196 16 6 1. Finland 185 13 19
2. Sweden 127 10 -8 2. Germany 152 11 -5
3. Latvia 114 9 18 3. Sweden 148 11 14
4. Germany 88 7 6 4. Latvia 137 10 17
5. USA 85 7 - 5. Lithuania 124 9 -6
6. Russia 76 6 3 6. Russia 115 8 11
7. Lithuania 67 5 7 7. Poland 86 6 -3
8. Denmark 60 5 71 8. Netherlands 63 4 18
9. Norway 52 4 7 9. China 51 4 26
10. France 38 3 69 10. Italy 35 2 9
Exports and imports by commodity section, March 2019
Commodity section (chapter) by Combined Nomenclature (CN) Exports Imports Balance, million euros
million euros share, % change compared to same period of previous year, % million euros share,% change compared to same period of previous year, %
TOTAL 1,230 100 8 1,407 100 5 -177
Agricultural products and food preparations (I–IV) 96 8 15 139 10 10 -43
Mineral products (V) 147 12 8 162 12 -10 -15
Raw materials and products of chemical industry (VI) 67 5 9 133 9 11 -67
Articles of plastics and rubber (VII) 37 3 5 72 5 11 -36
Wood and articles of wood (IX) 141 12 4 48 3 2 92
Paper and articles thereof (X) 29 2 -5 26 2 17 4
Textiles and textile articles (XI) 37 3 3 62 4 9 -26
Base metals and articles of base metal (XV) 99 8 28 140 10 16 -41
Mechanical appliances (84) 113 9 -1 152 11 -5 -39
Electrical equipment (85) 180 15 -4 179 13 -1 1
Transport equipment (XVII) 84 7 11 162 12 10 -77
Optical, measuring, precision instruments (XVIII) 46 4 35 33 2 -1 13
Miscellaneous manufactured articles (XX) 111 9 12 38 3 22 73
Other 43 3 18 60 4 17 -17

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 April 2019, and on the customs declaration data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, which were sent to Statistics Estonia on 22 April 2019. Statistics Estonia published the monthly summary of foreign trade in 13 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 may differ from the sum total of the column.