In 2015 the current account ran the largest surplus since independence was regained
- The current account surplus of 394 million euros in 2015 was twice as large as in 2014
- Imports of goods declined faster in 2015 than exports of goods did
- Estonian assets abroad increased in the fourth quarter by more than liabilities
Although volumes of exports were down in 2015, the current account surplus grew mainly because of an improvement in the goods balance. The deficit on the goods account shrank as the total value of imports fell, with imported fuel falling in price, investment activity being reduced and volumes decreasing of the imported goods that are used as production inputs for export goods. The outflow of investment income slowed in the middle of the year mainly because of one-off factors, but it picked up again in the third and fourth quarters and restrained the rapid growth in the current account surplus. The current account surplus declined in the fourth quarter in both yearly and quarterly comparison, which is in line with the Eesti Pank forecast published in December. With exports still reluctant to catch light and investment tenaciously recovering, the current account should remain close to balance in the first half of 2016, or slightly in deficit.
Estonian assets abroad increased by more than liabilities in the fourth quarter and for the year as a whole, with the result that the Estonian net international investment position improved. At the end of the year the Estonian net investment position was –40% of GDP, which is four percentage points less than at the start of the year. The European Commission looks at the net international investment position as one of the indicators of possible imbalances in an economy, and it has set the threshold for where the danger appears at –35% of GDP. More than half of the foreign investment that comes to Estonia is direct investment, which is seen as a less risky form of funding. For this reason there is no need to worry too much about the threshold set by the European Commission for the net international investment position being breached in the Estonian case.
Eesti Pank compiles external sector statistics that include data on the balance of payments, foreign debt, the international investment position and foreign exchange reserves. Eesti Pank releases an economic policy comment and two statistical reviews on them:
- a balance of payments comment that focuses on explaining the changes in the current and capital accounts of the balance of payments;
- a statistical comment on external financing that covers the financial account of the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt.
Eesti Pank will release the statistics for the balance of payments and the external debt for the first quarter of 2016 together with an economic policy and statistical comment on 9 June 2016 at 08.00.