Estonia has received more direct investment than many other newer members of the European Union

  • Estonia’s foreign direct investment position* at the end of 2015 put it behind only Hungary in volume among the newer European members from Central and Eastern Europe
  • The Estonian current account in 2015 posted its largest surplus since independence was regained
  • Both exports and imports of goods and services were down last year, but imports by more
  • The current account was affected by large dividends paid out by the banking sector

Adjusted data show that the current account of the Estonian balance of payments had a surplus of 447 million euros in 2015, the largest since independence was regained. This does not reflect the strength of Estonian exports however, so much as a general decline in the trade of goods. Although both exports and imports of goods and services were down, it was the faster decline in imports that led the surplus in goods and services to grow. The surplus on the current account increased because the outflow of investment income slowed as large-scale extraordinary dividends were paid out by the banking sector in the middle of the year, and the income tax paid on these dividends to the Estonian state principally slowed the outflow. A little more was received from the European Union Structural Funds for infrastructure development than in 2014. The outflow of capital from the financial account was one billion euros larger than the inflow and the main channel for the outflow was portfolio and other investment.

Estonia was behind only Hungary for the foreign direct investment position among the newer European members from Central and Eastern Europe, and at the end of 2015 the direct investment position in Estonia was almost the same as the GDP of the year.

* Direct investment data for Estonia cover the period 1993-2015.

Figure. Direct investment position in Central and Eastern European countries at the end of 2015 as % of GDP
Direct investment position in Central and Eastern European countries at the end of 2015 as % of GDP

Sources: Eurostat, Eesti Pank

Eesti Pank publishes the balance of payments yearbook each autumn for the previous year. The balance of payments yearbook contains a detailed analysis of the three main documents containing external sector statistical data – the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt – at national and sectoral levels illustrated with tables and figures. The time series are of up to ten years. This year’s yearbook will contain a comparison of the Estonian external sector with other European Union countries for the second time.

It also contains a thorough description of the methodology for compiling the balance of payments statistics, which explains the concepts of the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt, and the system and practice of compiling statistics in Estonia. It also explains the legal basis for the compilation of statistics and the principles for publishing and adjusting data.

This year’s yearbook is the sixteenth to be published.

The English version of the balance of payments yearbook for 2015 will be published on the Eesti Pank website on 30 September 2016.

For further information:
Ingrid Mitt
Public Relations Office
Tel: 668 0965, 512 6843
Email: ingrid.mitt [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries: press [at] eestipank.ee