Lithuanian exports decline at a slower rate than imports
Lithuanian foreign trade
Lithuanian export growth picked up right after the crisis when, like in other Baltic countries, they even exceeded pre-crisis figures. Yet by 2013 Lithuania’s foreign trade volumes started to stagnate and event decreased in 2016, largely because of a high degree of uncertainty on international markets. Notwithstanding last year’s negative results, experts project Lithuania’s foreign trade data to improve.
Oil exports decrease
In 2016, Lithuanian exports dropped by 1.3% to EUR 22.6 billion, whereas imports declined slightly more, by 2.2% to EUR 24.83 billion. Last year’s export decline was largely caused by an 18.6% reduction in oil product trade, a 24.9% decrease in fertilizers sales, as well as 43.3% slump in fruit and nuts sales. Despite the drop in oil product exports, experts have noted that the amount of oil products rose by 5% in tons and that the reduction occurred because of the low oil price.
Lithuanian imports, meanwhile, were impacted last year by a 46.8% drop in natural gas imports, a 9% decrease in crude oil imports, a 35.3% reduction in fruit and nuts imports and a 34.2% drop in fertilizers imports. Like oil product exports, crude oil imports grew by 4% in tons, yet due to the global drop in the crude oil price, the value of crude imports declined. Meanwhile, exports of mineral products grew by 1.8% and imports of mineral products rose by 1.3% .
Exports of Lithuanian-made goods to Russia down
Last year, exports of Lithuanian-made goods to Russia declined by 0.7%, although exports of Lithuanian-produced mineral products rose by 2.7%. In 2016, exports of Lithuanian-made goods to Russia fell 13.7%, largely due to a drop in oil product exports, as shipping of these products to Russia plummeted 67.4% from a year before. Exports of fertilizers to Russia dwindled 84% and furniture exports declined 34%.
Lithuania’s exports of agricultural produce to Russia also decreased last year, dropping by 13.9% overall, while exports of Lithuanian-made food and agricultural products to Russia slowed only slightly, by 1.7%. Most of the Lithuanian-made goods were exported to Germany (10% of total amount), the United States (8.3%), Latvia (7.4%) and Sweden (6.9%).
Exports to Sweden and U.S. grow substantially
Even though the exports of Lithuanian-made goods to Russia declined, this country still remained Lithuania’s largest export partner as Lithuania exported EUR 3.05 billion worth of goods to Russia last year, which accounted for 13.5% of Lithuania’s total exports. Exports to Latvia, which also represents a major destination of Lithuanian goods, declined by 2% last year, but the turnover was still impressive EUR 2.23 billion, making up 9.9% of Lithuania’s total exports last year. Traditionally, Poland and Germany also featured among Lithuania’s key export partners, accounting for 9.1% and 7.7% of Lithuanian exports respectively.
Last year, Lithuania managed to increase exports to Sweden by 18.5% to EUR 1.07 billion, while exports to the U.S. grew 17.1% to EUR 1.17 billion. The sharpest reduction, meanwhile, was recorded in exports to the Netherlands which fell 22.9% to EUR 708.4 million, and exports to Belarus were down 17.5% to EUR 871.8 million.
Imports from Italy and France growing
Notwithstanding the overall drop in imports in 2016, imports from some countries increased last year. Imports from Italy, for instance, rose by 17% to EUR 1.35 billion and imports from France climbed 13.5% to EUR 848.2 million.
Russia, however, still remained the biggest import partner, providing EUR 3.58 billion worth of goods to Lithuania last year, which was 13.5% less than in 2015. Germany also was a major import partner, providing EUR 2.99 billion worth of goods to Lithuania in 2016, up 2.7% year-on-year. Poland was the third largest import partner with goods worth EUR 2.68 billion, up 2.6% against 2015. Meanwhile, the most significant reduction was recorded in trade with Belarus as imports from this country fell 20.7% to EUR 697.7 million.