In March the foreign trade turnover of Latvia amounted to EUR 2.42 billion, which at current prices was 5.1% less than a year ago, of which the exports value of goods dropped by 0.7%, but imports value of goods – by 8.4%.
In March, Latvia exported goods in the amount of EUR 1.1 billion, but imported – in the amount of EUR 1.32 billion. Compared to March 2019, foreign trade balance improved slightly as exports in total foreign trade amount increased from 43.4% to 45.4%, according to data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau.
During the first quarter of this year foreign trade turnover of Latvia at current prices reached EUR 6.87 billion – EUR 20.3 million or 0.3% more than in the corresponding period of the previous year. The exports value constituted EUR 3.23 billion (a growth of EUR 110.1 million or 3.5%), whereas the imports value comprised EUR 3.64 billion (a drop of EUR 89.8 million or 2.4%).
Calendar and seasonally adjusted data show that, compared to March 2019, in March 2020 the exports value at current prices went down by 3% and the imports value by 12.3%, whereas, compared to the previous month, the exports value went down by 3.2% and the imports value by 3%.
Main changes in exports in March, compared to March 2019, included the following: exports of vegetable products up by EUR 23.6 million or 37.5%; exports of prepared foodstuffs up by EUR 14.8 million or 16.1%; exports of wood and articles of wood down by EUR 31.5 million or 14.8%; exports of vehicles and associated transport equipment down by EUR 20.3 million or 27.6%; exports of mineral products down by EUR 15 million or 24.8%.
Main changes in imports in March included the following: imports of prepared foodstuffs up by EUR 22.7 million or 20.6%; imports of products of the chemical and allied industries up by EUR 20.3 million or 12.8%; imports of machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment up by EUR 16 million or 6.2%; imports of vehicles and associated transport equipment down by EUR 179.8 million or 61.3%; imports of mineral products down by EUR 9.5 million or 11.1%.
In March, compared to February, epidemiological crisis caused by coronavirus Covid-19 had affected trade with certain specific goods. Thus, imports of protective oral-nasal masks rose from EUR 473.7 thousand to EUR 1.2 million. Mainly, they were imported from China (57.8% or in amount of EUR 709.1 thousand) and from Sweden (16.7% or in amount of EUR 204.3 thousand). In turn, both exports and imports of medicines have increased. Exports rose by EUR 13 million or 51.4% and imports – by EUR 10.9 million or 26.2%. Most of medicines were exported to Lithuania (13.2%), Estonia (9.9%), Germany (9.8%) and Russia (9.1%). Largest imports of medicines were from Lithuania (38.1%), Poland (7.8%) and Switzerland (7.6%).
In March, the main export partners of Latvia in trade with EU countries were Lithuania (15.4% of total exports), Estonia (12.3%), Germany (7.1%) and Sweden (6.6%), whereas the main import partners were Lithuania (17.4% of total imports), Germany (12.1%), Poland (11.3%) and Estonia (7.7%). Russia was the main partner in trade with third countries; its share in total Latvian exports in March accounted for 8.4%, whereas in imports – for 5.6%.
In March, compared to March 2019, share of the European Union countries in total exports value fell by 0.4%, but in imports value grew by 6.9%. Share of CIS countries in exports rose by 0.9% and by 0.1% in imports. In March, foreign trade balance of Latvia was positive with 118 partner countries, as exports value of goods exceeded imports value of goods. It was negative in trade with 45 countries.
The rise in exports of cereals in March, as compared to March 2019, was facilitated by an increase in exports of wheat and meslin by EUR 12.6 million or 37.1% (majority was exported to Nigeria – EUR 33.5 million). In turn, reduction in exports of mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation was mostly influenced by decrease of exports of electricity by EUR 6.8 million or 50%.
The rise in imports of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in March, as compared to March 2019, was facilitated by an increase in imports of whiskey by EUR 3.6 million or 31.9%. In turn, reduction in imports of iron and steel was mostly influenced by drop in imports of flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel by EUR 3.6 million or 13.6%. (BNN/Business World Magazine)