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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Estonian Trade Falls, Exports Gain Ground Over Imports

TALLINN, Estonia -- Estonia's trade deficit narrowed last year from 1998 as imports fell faster than exports and total trade volumes dropped for the first time in four years, the statistics office said Friday.

The office said Estonia's 1999 foreign trade deficit was 17.3 billion kroons ($1.1 billion), down from 21.8 billion kroons in 1998. The volume of trade lastyear fell to 103.7 billion kroons from 113 billion kroons the year before.

Exports last year eased to 43.2 billion kroons from 45.6 billion kroons in 1998, while imports shrank to 60.5 billion kroons from 67.4 billion kroons the previous year.

"The value of Estonian foreign trade increased from 1995 to 1998 - both exports and imports increased. In 1999 the value of foreign trade decreased by 8 percent compared with 1998," the office said.

"Exports decreased by 5 percent and imports decreased by 10 percent," it added.

The data reflect that for most of 1999, Estonia struggled with a recession that came in the wake of the collapse of the August 1998 Russian ruble devaluation.

The economy contracted sharply and did not grow for 15 months until gross domestic product rose by 1.9 percent year-on-year in the last quarter of 1999. Recovery started to set in in the third quarter as Estonian firms' westward trade increased.

In 1999, European Union countries took 63 percent of exports, up from 55 percent in 1998. Exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States fell to 13 percent last year from 21 percent in 1998.