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Estonian report Estonian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-06-18 09:46:04
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Estonia emerging as bullish Baltic nation

Estonia is no longer Europe's best kept secret, with increasing GDP growth, record numbers of tourists and a commitment to renewable energies and eco developments. The smallest of the Baltic countries is certainly making its presence felt. According to Statistics Estonia, the government agency of the Ministry of Finance, Estonia's GDP has increased by an impressive 8 percent in Q1 2011 compared to the same quarter last year, seeing exports of goods rise by 53 percent with most of the value added growth attributed to manufacturing. Moreover, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests that Estonia's economy may develop further with a 5.9 percent increase this year.

Alan Forsyth, director of property investment experts, Property Secrets, which markets investment opportunities in Estonia comments, "Estonia certainly has placed itself on the global investment radar," said Alan Forsyth, director of property investment experts for Property Secrets, which markets investment opportunities in Estonia.  "As well as the welcomed boost in GDP, the National Tourist Board recently announced that Estonia has seen a 41 percent increase in the number of UK visitors with a record number welcomed in Q1 2011.”Additionally, more than 259,000 tourists stayed in hotels and other forms of accommodation between January and March this year, a 19 percent rise compared to the same time last year which could well be attributed to the fact that Tallinn, Estonia's capital city, has been voted European Capital of Culture 2011 as well as low cost airline EasyJet recently introducing flights to the Estonian capital from Liverpool making it easier to visit the Baltic country."

Certainly, the growth in visitor numbers is excellent news, not only for the country's economy but for potential property buyers as Estonia has seen an increase in population growth according to Statistics Estonia with the biggest attraction being the city of Tallinn, which was able to keep net migration positive for the second year in a row. Of course, as the population of Estonia grows, a greater need for housing becomes more apparent. According to data from The Global Property Guide, property prices in Tallinn rose by 2.5 percent over the year-to-end Q1 2011 indicating that the housing market is sitting comfortably. This, along with the Estonian construction industry experiencing 34% year on year growth in the number of construction projects underway in Q1 2011 according to Statistics Estonia, paints a positive picture for potential property investors.


Estonia’s economy powers ahead

Estonia’s GDP, according to the second estimates from Statistics Estonia, increased by 8.5 percent in the 1st quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter in the previous year, reports news agency LETA. GDP growth has gradually accelerated since the 2nd quarter of last year. Compared to the previous quarter, the seasonally and working-day adjusted GDP grew by 2.4 percent. In the 1st quarter, the GDP at current prices was 3.7 billion Euros. The fast growth of the value-added of manufacturing (29 percent) contributed the most to the GDP. Contributions to GDP from manufacturing were 3.9 percentage points. The manufacture of radio, TV and communication equipment had the biggest impact on the growth of the value-added of this economic activity. Manufacture of wood, chemical and metal products had a bigger influence on the value-added.

The value-added of manufacturing grew mainly with the support of vigorous exports. Transport, storage and communication, other business activities and construction had a bigger contribution to the GDP growth. In the 1st quarter, the value-added of construction turned to growth after a two-and-a-half-year decrease. Construction of buildings and structures grew rapidly and the value-added of construction increased 23 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The fast growth of the value-added of construction proceeded from the low comparison basis of the previous year. GDP growth was substantially influenced by the increase in the receipts of the value-added tax and excise taxes. The value-added of forestry, fishing, electricity, gas and water supply and financial intermediation decreased. Deceleration in growth of exports of electricity contributed to the decrease in the value-added of electricity, gas and water supply. The value-added of financial intermediation fell due to the decrease in the insurance output and increase in insurance claims. In the 1st quarter the share of economic activities with decreased value-added was 12 percent (28 percent in the 4th quarter).

In the 1st quarter the number of persons employed, and hours worked, increased. This resulted in the deceleration of labor productivity of the total economy per hour worked to 0.7 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Labor productivity per hour worked decelerated for the third quarter in succession. Productivity has been calculated by the resident production units (domestic concept) and by seasonally and working-day adjusted figures. The decrease of labor costs for the production of the GDP has decelerated. In the 1st quarter unit labor costs decreased by a percentage compared to the same quarter of the previous year.


Russian schools transfer to Estonian language discriminatory

A support group for national minorities of the Estonian Parliament on Friday sent an appeal to the government, stating that the transfer of Russian schools to the Estonian language is a violation of the country’s fundamental law.

The letter states that "the teaching of special subjects in a language that students do not understand or understand poorly is discrimination”. In Estonia, starting from September 1st, under a government decision, tenth grade students of Russian-speaking schools are to study no less than 60% of the curriculum in the Estonian language. Many Russian-speaking schools are requesting this decision be postponed.

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