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

  • The current account surplus was 289 million euros in the third quarter of 2016, or 5.5% of GDP, having been 3.3% of GDP in the third quarter of 2015. The increase in the surplus was backed by growth in the surplus on goods and services and a reduction in the net outflow of investment income
  • Exports of goods were 4.3 billion euros, and exports of services 3.9 billion, as exports grew at an accelerating rate
  • The net outflow of investment income fell by 15%

The goods and services account was in surplus by 360 million euros as exports of goods and services were up 5% on the third quarter of 2015, and imports were up 3%. The deficit in goods was 193 million euros, which was one quarter less than in the same quarter of 2015. The deficit narrowed mainly because exports of goods increased by 5%, while imports grew at a slower 2%. Exports of all the main groups of goods except food products increased. The surplus in services was 552 million euros, which was the largest ever, and was 9% more than in the third quarter of 2015. Services exports grew by 6% and imports by 5%. There was strong growth in the export of construction services, computer services, maintenance and repair services and other business services.

The net outflow of investment and other income1 was 70 million euros, or about 15% less than in the third quarter of last year. This was because of a reduction in the net outflow of direct investment and an increase in the net inflow of portfolio and other investment income, while there was some increase in the agricultural subsidies from the European Union funds. At the same time, twice as much was paid into the European Union budget as in the third quarter of 2015. The net inflow of labour income was the same as a year ago.

The surplus on the capital account was one fifth smaller than in the third quarter of 2015 at 81 million euros. This was because of the reduction in support from the Structural Funds of the European Union, and also because notably more was earned in the third quarter of 2015 from the sale of emissions quotas.

The net total of the current and capital accounts, or net lending (+) or borrowing (-), saw a surplus of 370 million euros. This means that the Estonian economy was 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

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


 

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 comment and a statistical release on 9 March 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 with a separate statistical release and an economic policy explanation.

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

Statistical releases are published by Eesti Pank together with 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: Reet.Kirt [at] eestipank.ee