The merchandise trade deficit narrowed by 26.1% y/y to EUR 79.7mn in August, according to data published by the stat office on Monday. This came on the back of exports which rose by 11.8% y/y. Exports of foodstuff rose by 17.2% y/y, supported by good harvest. Big growth was also reported in exports of chemical products (8.3% y/y ), base metals (12.2% y/y) and vehicles (20.7% y/y), supported by strengthening demand from Finland. The main export destinations were Sweden (17% of total exports), Finland (16%) and Latvia (10%).
On the import side, total imports rose by 7.8% y/y. One of the biggest contributors to the growth was vehicle imports, which went up by 26.1% y/y, aided by the continuing rise of wages. At the same time, machinery imports were unchanged in yearly terms, suggesting that the revival of investment activity is not accelerating significantly. Imports of base metal and chemical products increased by 10.2% y/y each, supported by higher industrial production. The main import partners were Finland (13%), Germany (11%) and Lithuania (10%).
Looking at the 12-month rolling figures, the merchandise trade deficit widened to EUR1.2bn (5.6% of GDP) from EUR990.0m (4.8% of GDP) in the previous month. Imports rose by 2.3% y/y mostly due to higher imports of machinery and vehicles. In the meantime, exports rose by 0.5% y/y with the biggest contribution to the growth coming from machinery exports.