Biggest decrease in foreign trade in 11 years

news release no 73

According to Statistics Estonia, in April 2020, compared to April 2019, the exports of goods decreased by 17% and imports by 22%. The greater decrease in imports offset the balance of trade.

Estonia’s exports of goods amounted to 1.02 billion euros and imports to 1.09 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 61 million euros; it decreased by 89 million euros compared to April 2019.

According to Evelin Puura, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, the last time trade fell this much was 11 years ago, in 2009. “In April, trade decreased in most commodity sections, but exports and imports increased for products associated with COVID-19, such as disinfection products and pharmaceuticals,” explained Puura.

In April, the top destination country of Estonia’s exports was Finland, followed by Sweden and Latvia. The biggest decreases occurred in exports to the Netherlands (down by 35 million euros), Russia and Sweden (down by 32 million euros each). Compared to the previous year, shale oil was exported less to the Netherlands, mechanical appliances to Russia and electrical equipment to Sweden. Exports increased the most to Argentina, with more motor fuel dispatched.

The biggest exports from Estonia were electrical equipment, wood and articles of wood, and agricultural products and food preparations. The year-on-year decline in exports came mainly from mineral products (down by 63 million euros), transport equipment (down by 47 million euros) and electrical equipment (down by 31 million euros). Exports increased the most for raw materials and products of chemical industry (up by 12 million euros), with highest increases for disinfection products and nitrogenous fertilisers.

In April, goods of Estonian origin accounted for 71% of the total exports of goods. Their exports decreased by 18% and re-exports increased by 16% compared to April 2019. The biggest decline occurred for shale oil of Estonian origin, as well for communication equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles, such as articles of bedding and similar furnishing.

The main countries of consignment were Finland, Germany and Lithuania. Imports decreased the most from Sweden (down by 66 million euros), Germany (down by 42 million euros) and Russia (down by 35 million euros). From Sweden and Russia, the imports of motor cars, and from Russia, the imports of fuels decreased the most. Imports of goods increased the most from Finland (up by 9 million euros), with more motor fuels imported.

The main commodities imported to Estonia were raw materials and products of chemical industry, electrical equipment, agricultural products and food preparations, and mineral products. The biggest decrease occurred in the imports of transport equipment (down by 104 million euros), electrical equipment (down by 49 million euros) and mechanical appliances (down by 47 million euros). Imports grew for raw materials and products of chemical industry (up by 18 million euros), mainly driven by pharmaceuticals.

Estonia’s foreign trade by month, 2019–2020
Month Exports, million euros Imports, million euros Balance, million euros
2019 2020 change, % 2019 2020 change, % 2019 2020
TOTAL 4,798 4,503 -6 5,323 4,849 -9 -524 -346
January 1,158 1,150 -1 1,278 1,163 -9 -120 -12
February 1,163 1,094 -6 1,251 1,212 -3 -88 -118
March 1,238 1,234 0 1,405 1,389 -1 -166 -155
April 1,239 1,025 -17 1,389 1,086 -22 -150 -61
Main foreign trade partners of Estonia, April 2020
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 1,025 100 -17 TOTAL 1,086 100 -22
EU-27 665 65 -23 EU-27 823 76 -22
Euro area 19 478 47 -24 Euro area 19 631 58 -18
Non-EU and United Kingdom 360 35 -4 Non-EU and United Kingdom 263 24 -21
1. Finland 185 18 -9 1. Finland 168 15 6
2. Sweden 97 10 -25 2. Germany 107 10 -28
3. Latvia 84 8 -26 3. Lithuania 104 10 -24
4. Germany 74 7 -15 4. Latvia 96 9 -22
5. USA 73 7 -1 5. Russia 94 9 -27
6. Lithuania 51 5 -26 6. Sweden 79 7 -46
7. Russia 50 5 -39 7. Poland 74 7 -13
8. Norway 38 4 -5 8. Netherlands 55 5 -7
9. Denmark 37 4 -23 9. China 49 4 14
10. Poland 34 3 12 10. Belgium 24 2 -7
Exports and imports by commodity section, April 2020
Commodity section (chapter) by Combined Nomenclature (CN) Exports Imports Balance, million euros
million euros share, % change on same period of previous year, % million euros share, % change on same period of previous year, %
TOTAL 1,025 100 -17 1,086 100 -22 -61
Agricultural products and food preparations (I–IV) 99 10 -6 117 11 -16 -18
Mineral products (V) 94 9 -40 116 11 -28 -22
Raw materials and products of chemical industry (VI) 75 7 18 145 13 14 -70
Articles of plastics and rubber (VII) 33 3 -18 67 6 -9 -34
Wood and articles of wood (IX) 121 12 -9 49 5 0 72
Paper and articles thereof (X) 27 3 -8 20 2 -19 7
Textiles and textile articles (XI) 26 2 -24 41 4 -28 -14
Base metals and articles of base metal (XV) 86 8 -15 113 10 -15 -26
Mechanical appliances (84) 93 9 -17 105 10 -31 -12
Electrical equipment (85) 152 15 -17 124 11 -28 28
Transport equipment (XVII) 51 5 -48 65 6 -62 -14
Optical, measuring, precision instruments (XVIII) 47 5 9 29 3 -9 18
Miscellaneous manufactured articles (XX) 78 8 -19 27 2 -26 51
Other 43 4 -1 68 6 5 -25

Statistics Estonia performs the statistical activity “Foreign trade” for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications with the aim to determine how exporting and importing enterprises are performing in Estonia.

For further information:

Kadri Kütt
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9181

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. Visualized data of Estonia’s foreign trade can be viewed in Statistics Estonia’s application.