The current account of the Estonian balance of payments was back in surplus in the second quarter

The Estonian current account was in surplus in the second quarter of 2016 by 104 million euros, or 2% of GDP, which was less than half of the surplus of a year previously. This was mainly due to the increased deficit on the goods account, and to a lesser extent on the primary income account. The balance of the goods and services account was in surplus by 200 million euros as exports of goods and services were up 4% on the second quarter of 2015, and imports were up 6%.

  • The goods account deficit was 300 million euros and it increased mainly because imports of goods grew by 6%, while exports grew at a slower 3%. Imports grew faster than exports in almost all the main groups of goods, and only imports and exports of mineral products saw a sharp fall. Imports of goods crossing the Estonian border were 349 million euros larger than exports going the other way. Estonian merchants earned 51 million euros from the intermediation of goods in third countries. The turnover of goods under merchanting was down 13% over the year and was 14% of the total turnover on the goods account.

  • The surplus in services was 500 million euros, which was 4% more than in the second quarter of 2015. Exports increased by 5% and imports by 6%. The surplus diminished in transport services, the branch of services with the biggest turnover, as exports of transport services shrank while imports of them grew. The opposite occurred in travel services, where the surplus was increased by growth in exports. Exports of construction services and computer services also continued to grow rapidly.

  • The net outflow from investment and other income1 was 95 million euros, or a little over twice what it was in the second quarter of the previous year. This was primarily because of the low reference base, as the outflow of direct investment income was reduced sharply in the second quarter of 2015 by income tax paid to the Estonian state on large-scale super dividend payouts. In the second quarter of 2016, direct investment income returned to its usual net outflow. Non-residents took out some direct investment income earned in Estonia in the form of dividends and reinvested some of it in Estonia. Residents preferred meanwhile to take out the direct investment income earned abroad as dividends.

The surplus on the capital account was 32 million euros, which was half the size of that in the same quarter last year. This was because of the reduction in support from the Structural Funds of the European Union.

The net total of the current and capital accounts, or net lending (+) or borrowing (-), saw a surplus of 136 million euros. This means that the Estonian economy was again a net lender to other countries. For a more detailed commentary on the statistics on foreign financing, see .

1 Net flow is inflow minus outflow. If the inflow exceeds the outflow, there is a net inflow, if the outflow exceeds the inflow there is a net outflow.

Figure 1. Current account, % of GDP
 Current account, % of GDP

Figure 2. Net lending (+) and net borrowing (-) / total current and capital account, % of GDP
Net lending (+) and net borrowing (-) / total current and capital account, % of GDP

Eesti Pank will release the statistics for the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt for the third quarter of 2016 together with an economic policy and statistical comment on 9 December 2016 at 08.00.


Background Information

Eesti Pank accompanies the release of statistics on the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt with a separate statistical comment and an economic policy explanation.

The balance of payments statistical comment focuses on description of the current account and the capital account. The statistical comment on external financing gives more depth on the financial account, the investment position and the external debt (see External sector statistics).


Additional information:

Reet Kirt
Eesti Pank Statistics Department

Telephone: 668 0894

Email: Reet.Kirt [at] eestipank.ee