New Report Available: Estonia Shipping Report Q3 2013

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu Aug 22 2013

BMI maintains its fairly upbeat forecast for the Estonian economy in 2013, although we recognise that this small country is, to some extent, sailing against the prevailing regional headwinds. The main positive factor remains private consumption growth, supported by falling unemployment and rising real wages.

Government spending will be relatively flat and investment, which has been strong in the last couple of years, will be levelling off as capacity utilisation stabilises. The disappointing factor looks like being exports: even though the country's main export markets are mainly its Scandinavian and Baltic neighbours, who are among the most resilient of the European economies, the general sluggishness of the eurozone is making itself felt. Net exports will therefore be a drag on GDP expansion. After 2012 GDP growth of 3.2%, we are maintaining our forecast for 2013 growth at 3.3%; we then see the pace easing to 3.0% growth in 2014, and 2.8% in 2015. Despite an earlier corruption scandal, which undermined the popularity of the Reform Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, we believe that the government is sitting fairly comfortably in office, with elections not due to until 2015. Despite the faster growth of imports over exports, we expect total foreign trade (imports + exports) to grow by a healthy 7.2% in 2013, which is good for the shipping sector.

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Looking at factors specific to the ports and shipping sector, competition from the new Russian Baltic port of Ust-Luga continues to cast a shadow over Estonia's port of Tallinn. Throughput at the Estonian port fell by 19.2% in 2012 and, despite continuing weakness in the first quarter, we are projecting a small increase in 2013. The port authorities suggest a policy of diversification is beginning to pay off. On the other hand, container activity levels are set to remain strong, with double-digit growth.

Headline Industry Data

* Port of Tallinn gross tonnage set to decline by 6.0%, to 31.244mn tonnes in 2013, following a 19.2% fall in 2012.
* Box traffic at Tallinn to grow by 10.9%, to 252,595 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2013, down from 15.2% growth in 2012.
* Estonian foreign trade to gain 7.2% in real terms in 2013, after 7.3% growth in 2012.
* Import growth will lead with 9.5% expansion, ahead of exports, which will be up by 5.0%.

Key Industry Trends

Muuga Terminal Delayed, But Parties Agree A Way Forward

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