Thursday, May 19, 2011

Estonia Outperforms Latvia

Estonia's yearly growth rate accelerated to 8% in the first quarter according to the first preliminary estimate, driven by rapid export growth (+54% in nominal terms ). Estonia was therefore likely the fastest growing EU-country during the first quarter. Compared to the previous quarter, GDP was up 2.1% ( 8.7% at an annualized rate).

Latvia's growth was more of a disappointment, with GDP growing only 3.4% compared to a year earlier according to the first preliminary estimate, with quarterly growth being a weak 0.2% (0.8% at an annualized rate.

Why Estonia is doing so much better than Latvia is not clear. One answer is that its exports grows faster, but that begs the question of why its exports grows faster. It could simply be a coincidence related to successful companies producing mineral products and machinery and equipment (the two sectors in Estonia whose exports increased the most).