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Swedbank names timber, grain, machines and mechanic equipment as main drivers of Latvian exports

BC, Riga, 12.06.2018.Print version
In April 2018, Latvian exports were driven primarily by timber and timber products, grain products, as well as machinery and mechanical equipment, Swedbank’s senior economist Agnese Buceniece told LETA.

After a drop in March, Latvian exports of goods rebounded in April, growing by 15.3 percent against the same period last year, the economist said. She added however that just like in March, the base effect still played a major role also in April 2018 as exports had weakened somewhat in April 2017.

Over the first four months of this year, Latvian exports of goods rose by 9 percent in monetary terms, which is slightly slower than in the full 2017 when exports quickened 10 percent. The growth rate in terms of volume might have been even slower, given that this year producer prices have been rising faster than last year, Buceniece said.

“The latest news from farmers are not pleasing - it appears that the dry spell will have seriously reduced the harvest and accordingly also the export potential of agricultural produce. In the manufacturing sector, production growth this year is nearly two times slower than last year, which partly can be explain with a high load of production capacity and labor shortages. Growth in the eurozone, which is our producers’ largest sales market, is gradually running out of steam although it is still pretty strong,” Buceniece said.

The Swedbank economist also noted a surge of protectionism in the world, which is going to create uncertainty and, if it increases even more, can hit Latvian exports. “These factors might affect export performance in the second half of the year. Surveys show that for the time being, export orders and manufacturers’ outlook on export trends remain at a high level, meaning that the decline of exports will be very slow,” Buceniece said.

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