Under the impact of global trends, Latvian exports continue to grow
The stabilization of economic in the largest export markets, the resumption of external demand along with an improved foreign consumer confidence, as well as improved competition of Latvian entrepreneurs and rising export prices at the beginning of this year helped to significantly raise income from goods exports.
According to the data of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB), the turnover of external trade of Latvian goods increased in March by 18.3% month-on-month, with the goods exports and imports rising by respectively 15.3% and 20.8% month-on-month. Year-on-year, the goods export and import values increased by respectively 13.2% and 15.2%.
In March, the month-on-month rise in exports was ensured by increased exports in practically all groups of goods, except base metals and base metal products. The greatest positive contribution to exports was made by wood products, chemicals and agricultural and food products.
In the first quarter of this year, goods exports posted a long awaited two-digit increase, i.e. 10.1% year-on-year. Increases were observed in almost all groups of goods. The greatest positive contributor was foodstuffs, wood products, animal derived products, transport vehicles, chemicals and base metal products. In a breakdown by country, the greatest increase in goods exports was to Russia – by 48% (exports of mechanisms and electrical equipment, beverages, pharmaceuticals, transport vehicles), and to the USA – by 52% (mechanisms and electrical equipment, transport vehicles, wood products). Rises in exports to the European Union (EU) and CIS countries underpin the ability of Latvian exporters to diversify their production, conquering markets both in the East and West.
Goods imports in the first quarter rose by 13.3% quarter-on-quarter. In imports, growth was posted both by consumer and capital goods, which points to solidifying domestic consumption and increased activity in the investment environment. According to the information by "airBaltic" to mass media, both in January and March the year-on-year growth in imports could be attributed to the purchase of the Bombardier CS300 airplane by airBaltic.
In recent months, consumer and entrepreneur confidence indicators in the EU countries and the USA have reached their highest levels in the post-crisis period; activity has resumed in world trade, posting a substantial rise after a more sluggish period. The Russian economy is also gradually returning to positive growth. Consequently, the future outlook of different export branch associations and entrepreneurs is becoming increasingly optimistic.
Starting April, the Development Finance Institution 'Altum' is offering a new state support programme – export credit guarantees to enterprises exporting to the EU countries. Within the framework of the programme, over 150 enterprises are expected to receive support, guaranteeing export transactions to the EU in the amount of at least 82 million euro, which can help new exporters with the beginning or expanding exports to the EU markets.