Nr. 12-2011 Published monthly by:
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce
in Estonia

Tallinn:
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Statistics and reports Summertime is peak season for the publishing of a long row of statistics and reports.

e-focus has harvested among the figures with a special focus on taxation, labour costs, price levels, inflation and economic freedom. All from an Estonian, Swedish, Baltic, Nordic and EU horizon.

Taxation Source: Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, and the EU Commission's Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union.

Tax revenue and implicit tax rates (%) by type of economic activity (data as per 2008):

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Tax rates (%) on personal and corporate income:

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Labour costs Source: Eurostat

Nominal hourly labour costs - % change quarter 1 2010 compared to quarter 1 2009

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Price levels Source: Eurostat

Comparative price level indices 2009, EU27=100

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Inflation Source: Eurostat

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Estonia's annual inflation rate June 2010 – June 2009 accelerated to 3,5% according to Eesti Statistika. Economic analysts had somewhat different opinions on the reasons why:

- Estonia's June inflation accelerated at the fastest pace in 17 months, mainly because of an increase in electricity tariffs, fuel prices and local taxes, reported Bloomberg.

- Estonia's inflation is anticipated to rise over the summer with energy prices being the main culprit, said Annika Lindblad, an economist with Nordea.

- Electricity and heating prices rose a combined 12.2 percent from a year earlier, and motor fuel was 18.8 percent more expensive, with both contributing a third of the overall price increase, said Eesti Statistika and added that the municipality of Tallinn now has introduced a 1% sales tax on essential goods and that electricity tariffs were raised by an average 2,8% for households.

- The June inflation rate was mainly caused by a 15% rise in mobile communication tariffs following the April and May ending of discount campaigns and promotions by mobile operators, said Ülo Kaasii, Head of the monetary policy department of Eesti Pank.

- Consumer-price growth will probably slow from July as the effect of tax increases a year earlier won't affect the annual comparison from that month, commented Estonia's Finance Ministry.
The Big Mac index The Big Mac index is a lighthearted attempt to gauge how far currencies are from their fair value. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), which argues that in the long run exchange rates should move to equalize the price of an identical basket of goods between two countries. The index's shopping basket consists of a single Big Mac hamburger, produced in nearly 120 countries. The fair-value benchmark is the exchange rate that leaves burgers costing the same in America as elsewhere.

According to the Burgernomics, the Estonian kroon is 30% undervalued against the US dollar while the Swedish krona is 76% overvalued.

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The Big Mac numbers should be taken with a generous pinch of salt. The bulk of a burger's cost depends on local inputs such as rent and wages, which tend to vary from one country to another. Consequently PPP comparisons are more reliable between countries with similar levels of income and cost levels.
Economic Freedom Supported by the Wall Street Journal, 'Index of Economic Freedom' is published annually by a number of international economic analyst institutions.

The index is based on several different criteria, among them economic openness, regulations, effectiveness and competitiveness.

Rank Country/Economic Zone Overall index score
1 Hong Kong 89,7
2 Singapore 86,1
3 Australia 82,6
9 Denmark 77,9
16 Estonia 74,7
17 Finland 73,8
21 Sweden 72,4
29 Lithuania 70,3
37 Norway 69,4
50 Latvia 66,2


Economic Freedom Score:

80 – 100    Free
70 – 79,9   Mostly free
60 – 69,9   Moderately free
50 – 59,9   Mostly unfree
0 – 49,9     Repressed

Among the 183 countries studied, the report found the economies of Afghanistan, Iraq, Liechtenstein and Sudan impossible to evaluate. North Korea was ranked Nr 179 and thus ended up on the last place with an overall index score of 1,0.

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