Latvia Shipping Report Q1 2016
BMI View: We expect positive but slow growth across the main Latvian ports in 2016 with the lateststatistics from the port of Riga, the country's largest port, indicating a trend of increased liquid bulktonnage and decreasing general cargo volumes while the largest cargo type, dry bulk, remains at consistentlevels. These trends are projected in our 2015 estimates of modest growth in tonnage throughput and adecrease in container traffic at the port of Riga. BMI's more positive outlook for 2016 is supported by ananticipated recovery in Russian import demand and continued steady trade growth in other main partnerssuch as Lithuania, Estonia and Germany.
Over the medium term (2017-2019) we forecast total trade growth to average 2.5%, stimulating slow butsteady growth in throughput volumes at Latvian ports. Real GDP growth over the period is forecast toaverage 3.0%, unemployment to fall from 9.0% in 2016 to 7.0% by 2019, and the active population toremain above 64%. Even with inflation anticipated to remain at low levels (2.7% in 2019), the country'seconomic performance will not significantly boost consumer demand and imports. Sustained growth indemand for imports in main trading partner countries will, however, drive Latvian export volumes, withexports anticipated to grow slightly more quickly than imports.
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