Experts: positive changes in Estonian economy set to continue
Eestlased Eestis 06 Jan 2011  EWR
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BNS – The positive changes in the Estonian economy that started more than a year ago will continue also in the first half of 2011, a panel of experts at the Estonian Institute of Economic Research believes.

In December 67 percent of the experts forecast that after six months the overall situation of the economy will be better and 33 believed that it will be about the same as at the time of the survey. No one predicted that the situation will deteriorate.

Leev Kuum, senior researcher at the institute, said at a press conference at the Ministry of Economy and Communications on Wednesday that expectations as regards continuation of development are persistently high, relying on private consumption and investment.

The Estonian business climate index calculated using the methodology of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich climbed from 5.7 percent in September to 6.0 percent in December on the back of improvement in the current situation and strengthening of positive expectations. The average index for the 27 member states of the EU in October was 5.25 points.

Kuum observed that experts' opinions as regards the situation of the Estonian economy kept improving during the whole of 2010. He also said that the post-crisis rise of the Estonian economy may already be considered sustainable based on statistical indicators for the final quarter of 2010.

The Estonian Institute of Economic Research forecasts a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 4.5 percent and an inflation rate of 3.5 percent for Estonia for 2011. The average monthly wage for the whole year is estimated to be 815 euros and real wages are seen to grow 0.3 percent. Exports of goods are estimated to reach 9.2 billion euros and imports 10 billion euros, while banks' home loan portfolio is estimated to total 15 billion euros at year-end.

The panel of experts saw high unemployment, related reduction in demand and insufficient international competitiveness as hindering Estonia's economic development the most in December.

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