Postimees proves best predicting economy of 2013

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PHOTO: SCANPIX

The most precise prediction on last year’s economy was presented by Postimees, beating LHV Bank and Estonian Institute of Economic Research placing 2nd and 3rd. Postimees proved the sharpest in predicting unemployment, average wages, and price of gasoline. The Postimees prognosis came about by joint efforts of principal editor-in-chief Anvar Samost, financial director Erik Roose, deputy editor-in-chief Aivar Reinap, and economics journalist Tõnis Oja. The overall prediction was achieved by arithmetical average of forecasts by all four men.

Most forecasters were caught off guard by the relatively illogical behaviour of last year’s economy – to the backdrop of slowing economic growth and price rise, unemployment also fell to an unexpected degree, average wages rising more than was assumed. While economic problems are usually accompanied by increased joblessness and slowing wage rise, last year was different. The cooling of the economy did not manage to have much impact on labour market; thus, such developments proved impossible to foresee. Also, foresight failed to expect such strength of euro against the US dollar, and so low levels of gasoline prices.

While only a year ago economy was hoped to recover, things went different. Economic situation deteriorated with Estonia’s main trade partners, quickly spilling over to our enterprises via decreased export volumes. The year was indeed characterised by constant lowering of economic forecasts, each confirming the inaccuracy of earlier forecasts.

Thanks to increased domestic consumption and optimisation of working procedures by enterprises, major lay-offs were avoided, however; the tempo of wage rises rather increasing. According to Statistical Office, substantial increase in labour costs did also increase costs for enterprises; even so, thanks to larger sales volumes on Estonian market, they still succeeded in adding to profits. Should the good financial health of consumers succeed in sustaining the economy till export outlook improves, both economy and local consumers may face a good year.

As for the next year, forecasters also expect slight economic growth with the current comparatively low inflation and unemployment, as well as continued increase of wage rise as supported by the raised minimum salary and better pay planned for public sector.

The sharpest shooters, in 2013

1.    Postimees    68.0*

2.–3.    Institute of Economic Research    63.5

2.–3.    LHV Bank    63.5

4.    Ernst&Young    62.5

5.    Ministry of Finance    60.0

6.    Swedbank    56.5

7.    Danske Bank    53.0

8.    Redgate Capital    48.5

9.    SEB    42.5

10.    Maris Lauri    38.5

11.    Nordea Bank    37.5

12.    Tarkinvestor    30.0

*) sum total of points: the sharpest prediction granted 12 points, the worst miss – 1 point

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