According to Estonian enterprises doing business in Russia, business is being affected also because the purchasing power of Russians has been weakening, partly because of devaluation of ruble.
Erik Laidvee, CEO of Transiidikeskus that operates Estonia’s only container terminal in Muuga, said that the company handled only 2.6% more consumer goods in the East-West direction.
“We expected volume of consumer goods shipped to Russia to increased 19% in the first two months. It’s clear that because of weakening ruble, Russians can no longer afford import goods such as toys and sports goods,” said Laidvee.
Also Estonian manufacturer of building products Krimelte says that its sales in Russia have been decreasing. Because of falling purchasing power, Krimelte’s plant in Moscow oblast made a loss.
“Only 10% of the plant’s costs are in euros, but the ruble devaluation is affecting us in a major way,” says Jaan Puusaag, adding that the Zhukovsk plant contributes between 15 and 20% of the group revenue.
Although because of its energy dependency, the EU is not too willing to impose trade sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine events, any worsening of EU-Russian trade will also affect Baltic enterprises, writes Postimees. Since Russia itself depends on goods imported from Western Europe, it is clear that neither side is ready for an all-out trade war.