Annual increase in exports in December
At the end of 2009 the annual changes in exports were no longer in the minuses despite the fact that in November and December decreased activity, characteristic of foreign trade at the end of the year, was observed.
Exports grew over November in certain groups of food and agriculture products, chemical products, metals, mechanisms and mechanic appliances as well as optical appliances while increased imports were observed in such important groups as, for instance, mineral products and vehicles. A substantial positive annual increase was observed in the largest groups of export goods including mineral products (by 60.2%), wood pulp products (by 29.3%), metals and metal products (by 30.0%), and vehicles (by 5%). The exports value of optical appliances and devices (despite the small size of the group) was one of the greatest that have ever been recorded for one month, surpassing the December 2008 level by 52.8% and the previous month’s level by 19.2%. The stabilizing of the foreign market point to positive development trends for a wide range of export goods.
The available information on foreign trade in 2009 in a breakdown by month indicates that the decrease in exports was two times smaller than the contraction of imports (respectively by 19.4% and 38.4% for the year overall), which is reflected in a significant improvement of the trade balance.
According to survey data, the assessment by entrepreneurs of the competitiveness position and the degree to which production capacities are used is gradually improving and, regarding certain items, has changed from negative to neutral or even positive. The recent positive assessment expressed by the European Commission and some rating agencies could stabilize Latvia’s position also in the eyes of potential investors as they assess possibilities for investment in the Latvian industry including manufacturing based on exports.