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- BNS/ TBT Staff
VILNIUS – No major changes are expected on Lithuania’s exports map in 2017, with companies retaining their focus on markets of the European Union and Russia, while Asian markets will only be an issue for individual exporters, economists say.
Gitanas Nauseda, an adviser to SEB bank’s president, says that the exporting companies will continue their attention to keeping their exports volumes in Europe.
“I believe tendencies of exports to the euro area will remain similar next year – moderate growth, although the 2016 exports had declined in the region, which was due to the general decrease in exports prices. As next year should not bring dropping prices, exports to the eurozone and Europe will swell at a slow and moderate pace,” Nauseda told BNS Lithuania.
In his words, 2017 should bring higher exports volumes to the United States and Russia, while Asian markets should not become a priority for exporters, as they are difficult to consolidate standing in. This is why merely a few companies managed to make contacts with China so far.
Swedbank’s senior economist Nerijus Maciulis said a major breakthrough of exports to Russia may be expected only if the mutual sanctions are lifted.
“There is one big uncertainty in connection to Russia. Bigger growth in exports can only be expected in a case of Russia’ s economic recovery and recall of mutual sanctions. Sanctions will hardly be lifted in 2017. This is something to possibly think about in 2018,” Maciulis told BNS.
In his words, remote markets in Asia will not gain importance for Lithuanian exporters, as entering them and consolidating positions there is a difficult task.
Rokas Grajauskas, senior economist for the Baltic states at Danske Bank, told BNS that 2017 exports tendencies should not be subjected to major changes.
SEB bank has forecast Lithuania’s exports to grow 4 percent in 2017, while the forecasts of Swedbank and Danske Bank are 6 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.
The central Bank of Lithuania has projected exports to gain 3 percent next year. In January-October of 2016, exports dropped by 2.9 percent to 18.447 billion euros year-on-year.