Retail trade turnover grows 6 percent in March
As Statistics Estonia reports, the turnover of retail trade enterprises increased by 6 percent at constant prices in March, compared to the same period last year.
In March 2017 the turnover of retail trade enterprises reached €545.7 million.
The turnover growth of stores selling manufactured goods accelerated. While in February the reported growth amounted to 3 percent year on year, in March it reached 11 percent. Turnover increased in five and decreased in two economic activities, with the biggest increase occurring in stores selling via mail order or the Internet. There, sales increased by 33 percent year on year.
Turnover also increased for stores selling household goods and appliances, hardware and building materials (by 16 percent), second-hand goods and in non-store retail sale (stalls, markets, direct sale, by 15 percent), in non-specialised stores selling predominantly manufactured goods (e.g. department stores, by 12 percent) and in other specialised stores, such as stores selling computers and related accessories, books, sports equipment, games and toys, etc. (by 12 percent).
Turnover of stores selling pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics as well as those selling textiles, clothing, and footwear decreased year on year in March.
The turnover of grocery stores, which had previously shown a slight decrease in the past months, grew again in March and increased by 2 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.
Companies selling automotive fuel increased their turnover by 4 percent compared to March 2016.
Turnover of retail trade enterprises increased by 16 percent compared to February. According to seasonally and working-day adjusted data, the growth reached 2 percent. In the first three months of 2017, the turnover of retail trade enterprises increased by 3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Government to invest €450 million into education system
According to the budget strategy approved by the Estonian government on Wednesday, the country's education system is to get a boost of more than €450 million over the next four years, much of which will be spent on teacher salaries.
It was decided in the budget strategy that more than €246 million will be spent on raising teachers' salaries over the next four years, a press officer from the Ministry of Education and Research told BNS on Thursday.
A total of €61 million will be contributed to the program to motivate increasing kindergarten teachers' salaries, including €2.5 million to be paid this fall already.
"The goal is to raise the salaries of kindergarten teachers so that it would be on the same level with school teachers' salaries," explained the press officer. "In the majority of local governments, this will result in the average salaries of kindergarten teachers increasing by around 50 percent."
The government also decided to support research and development activites with €22 million, increasing post-graduate students' support with €20 million, increasing school lunch support with €24 million, remote rural high schools situated far from population centers with €2 million, implementing the pilot program for teaching Estonian in high schools with €4 million and continuing to establish state high schools with €4.8 million over the next four years.
Editor: Aili Vahtla
Nordea raises Estonia's economic growth forecast to 2.5 percent
Nordea has raised its economic growth forecast for Estonia for this year to 2.5 percent, up from the 2.4 percent estimate published in December.
Estonia's GDP is expected to grow 2.9 percent in 2018, it appears from the fresh Economic Outlook published by Nordea.
The country's consumer price inflation is expected to hit 3 percent this year, compared to the 2.3 percent included in the December forecast. The inflation estimate for 2018 is 2.4 percent.
The unemployment rate is estimated to be 7.6 percent this year, up 0.4 percent compared to December's forecast. In 2018, unemployment is expected to climb to 9.4 percent.
The gross average wages and salaries are estimated to rise 5.5 percent this year and 5.6 percent in 2018. Compared to the December forecast, the new growth estimate is higher by 0.2 percent.
Editor: Aili Vahtla
Rail Baltic to cost €5.8 billion
The latest estimates put the cost of the international railway project Rail Baltic, including the construction of the Kaunas-Vilnius section, at €5.8 billion, of which Estonia's share is €1.3 billion.
"In the case of such megaprojects, it is essential to keep track of the prices of different components, such as construction work and materials, bridges and viaducts, ecoducts and environmental alleviation measures, which may change over time," Rail Baltic Estonia CEO Indrek Orav told BNS.
"While AECOM's 2011 analysis calculated that the railway would cost approximately €3.8 billion to build, figures concerning the aforementioned components as well as the exact route and technical solution are known by now, and therefore the cost can be calculated considerably more precisely than back in 2011," he explained.
"Compared to 2011, the overall cost of the project has increased and totals approximately €5 billion," said Orav. "Adding the construction of the Kaunas-Vilnius connection, we get a cost of around €5.8 billion. The cost of the Estonian section has remained stable in recent years at about €1.3 billion, of which the Estonian state's co-financing would account for €250-300 million."
At a press conference last October, project coordinator RB Rail CEO Baiba Rubesa said that the total cost of Rail Baltic may amount to €5 billion. As recently as last May, however, the overall cost of the project was estimated to be €3.68 billion.
Rail Baltic is the project for the construction of a European-gauge high-speed railroad from Tallinn to Lithuania's border with Poland.
Editor: Aili Vahtla
Finnish Metsä Wood buys property for plywood factory in Pärnu
On March 10, Metsä Wood Eesti AS purchased from Trigon Property Development a 104,000 square meter plot of land in Pärnu where it will build a €50 million plywood factory that will create 200 new jobs.
Trigon Property Development announced on Friday that it had sold the property at 17 Kase Street for €850,000.
In June 2016, Finnish forestry industry group Metsä Wood announced the launch of a €100 million investment program in Finland and Estonia which included €50 million euros to build a plywood mill in Estonia.
The program, which is to be implemented in steps, will increase the group's annual birch plywood production by about 30,000 cubic meters and the output of Kerto laminated veneer lumber by 20,000 cubic meters by the end of 2018.
Editor: Aili Vahtla