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Monday, May 5, 2008

Estonia Industrial Output March 2008

Estonia's industrial production fell year on year in March, the first decline in more than eight years, and just one more sign that the country's economic downturn is now continuing its course after having a brief respite in January/February. On the worst case scenario (which does seem to be unfolding) Estonia's economy may actually contract in 2008 after expanding an average of 8.7 percent every year since 2000.

Output, adjusted for working days, decreased an annual 4.9 percent, the first fall since August 1999, after a revised 5.5 percent increase in February, the Tallinn-based statistics office said today. Production fell 5.3 percent in the month on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The March decline was led by wood production and processing, the second biggest component of manufacturing with a 14 percent share. The industry's output shrank a work-day adjusted 18 percent, with the production of building materials falling 19 percent.

Food production, the biggest manufacturing industry with a 17.5 percent weighting, declined 7 percent as rising prices deterred consumers, the fourth straight month of shrinking output. Manufacturing made up 88 percent of total industrial production in March.

Electricity output fell 24 percent as domestic production was replaced by cheaper imports, which covered almost 30 percent of local consumption, the statistics office said.

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