The surplus on the current account of the Estonian balance of payments reached a record level in 2016



  • The surplus on the current account in 2016 was 555 million euros, or 2.7% of GDP, and it increased mainly because the net outflow of investment income decreased
  • The balance for goods and services totalled 869 million euros, which was about the same as a year earlier
  • The surplus of 181 million euros on the capital account was the smallest of the past decade and was half its level of 2015

The surplus on the Estonian current account was a record 555 million euros in 2016, which was one quarter more than in 2015. The goods and services account was around 870 million euros in surplus, which is below the peak reached in 2010 and 2011.

The deficit on exports and imports of goods was 860 million euros, which was about the same as in 2015. Both exports and imports of goods increased by 3%. They increased for most of the main groups of goods, with the exceptions of exports of food products and exports and imports of mineral goods. Imports of goods crossing the Estonian border were 1.2 billion euros larger than exports going the other way. Estonian merchants earned 341 million euros from the intermediation of goods in third countries.

The surplus from exports and imports of services has been about the same size for the past three years, though it hit its highest level ever at 1729 million euros in 2016. Services exports grew by 6% and imports by 8%, and there was strong growth in the export of financial services, construction services, computer services, and other business services. Exports of transport services by sea and rail declined but there was significant growth in the provision of services to non-residents through air transport. There was an increase in 2015 in the amount of other business services, travel services and administration and repair services bought in.

The net outflow from investment income and other income1 was 314 million euros, or about 20% less than in 2015. The main reason for this was a reduction in the net outflow of direct investment income and to a lesser extent an increase in the net inflow of portfolio investment income and other investment income. There was some increase in the agricultural subsidies from the European Union funds, while the current expenditure of other European Union subsidies remained the same. The net inflow of labour income did not change either.

The surplus on the capital account was less than half what it was in 2015 at 181 million euros. This was because of a drop of around half in the use of the Structural Funds of the European Union, and also because significant income was earned in 2015 from the sale of emissions quotas.

The net total of the current and capital accounts, or net lending (+) / net borrowing (-), saw a surplus of 736 million euros. This means that Estonia was a net lender to other countries for the eighth consecutive year. For a more detailed statistical release on external financing, see link.

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.

Eesti Pank will release the preliminary statistics for the balance of payments, the international investment position and the external debt for the first quarter of 2017 together with an economic policy and statistical comment on 8 June 2017 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 (see external sector statistics) with a separate statistical release and an economic policy explanation.

The statistical release is published together with Eesti Pank’s statistical data. The release is independent of economic policy releases and is presented separately from them.

Additional information:
Reet Kirt
Eesti Pank Statistics Department
Telephone: 668 0894
Email: [email protected]