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Regained competitiveness? - The economies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are now in a much, much better shape. The Baltic countries are regaining competitiveness and their recovery has come quicker than expected, said the Swedish Riksbank's Deputy Governor Lars Nyberg in an end of May presentation in Stockholm.

- The countries are clearly on the right path, and Estonia's fiscal performance has put it on course to become the eurozone's 17th member in January next year, continued Nyberg.

As for Estonia, David Oxley, a market economist at Capital Economics doesn't fully agree:

- Estonia must push through deeper wage cuts to remain competitive or risk seeing its external debt level rise since the real effective exchange rate of the kroon adjusted for unit labor costs would make Estonia one of the least competitive euro-zone economies, says Oxley.

- Estonia's unit labor costs have risen by more than 30% since 2006, compared with 7% in Germany, continues Oxley. Estonia's corrective measures will have to be as severe as in the rest of the eurozone, if not more so. A euro conversion at the current exchange rate of 15,65 kroon per euro will only lock in its competitiveness problems.

According to Statistics Estonia, the country's average wage level has decreased.

- In the 1st quarter 2010, the average monthly gross wage in Estonia was 11.865 kroons and the hourly gross wage was 74.46 kroons. In a year, monthly wages went down 2,3% and hourly wages 2,6%, says Statistics Estonia.

- This is the fifth consecutive quarterly decline compared to the same quarter the previous year, but at a slower pace. In the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter of 2009 the annual decline was 1,5%, 4,4%, 5,9% and 6,5% respectively, continues Statistics Estonia.

Statistics Estonia conducts regular surveys of wage levels and the 1st quarter 2010 research included 11.685 enterprises, institutions and organizations.