The Estonian current account remains in surplus

Andres Saarniit
Economist at Eesti Pank
  • The current account surplus diminished in the first half of the year, but in the third quarter it was again bigger than at the same time last year
  • One cause of the increase in the surplus was the broad-based acceleration in growth in exports of goods and services
  • At the same time, preliminary estimates show investment to have been less in the third quarter than at the same time a year ago, which held back growth in imports

At the end of last year the current account surplus started to shrink in yearly comparison. Despite faster growth in exports of goods and services, the current account surplus declined further in the first half of this year. This indicates increased investment activity in the private sector, which required larger imports of goods and services. The third quarter proved an exception, as the current account surplus was around 5.5% of the GDP of the quarter, or again larger than a year earlier. The current account surplus has only previously been so large during the exit from the recession and the crisis in 2009 and 2010.

One main cause of the increase in the surplus was the broad-based acceleration in growth in exports of goods and services. At the same time, preliminary estimates show investment to have been less in the third quarter than at the same time a year ago, which held back growth in imports. Overall the surplus on the goods and services account increased almost by half over the same quarter of last year. To a smaller extent the growth in the current account was helped by a fall in the outflow of investment income.

In the first nine months of this year taken together, the surplus on the current account was still smaller than that of last year, both in euros and as a ratio to GDP. If domestic savings remain close to their current levels , the current account position will be affected mostly by investment activity in the near future.


Background Information

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:

1. a balance of payments release that focuses on explaining the changes in the current and capital accounts of the balance of payments;

2. a statistical release 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 preliminary statistics for the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt for the whole year 2016 together with an economic policy and statistical release on 9 March 2017 at 08.00.

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