Lithuanian Trade Gap Narrows 25% as Exports to Russia, U.K. Jump

Lithuania’s trade deficit narrowed to the smallest since 2009 last year as exports to Russia surged and the U.K. imported 80 percent more fuel, food and furniture from the Baltic nation.

The gap shrank by a quarter to 6.9 billion litai ($2.7 billion), falling to its lowest monthly level since 1995 in December, the statistics office in the capital, Vilnius, said today on its website. Exports grew 14.5 percent to 79.6 billion litai, while imports rose 9.9 percent to 86.6 billion litai, it said.

Sales to Russia helped Lithuania’s economy grow 3.6 percent last year as the debt-ridden euro area slipped into recession. Russia’s share of Lithuanian exports was 18.9 percent in 2012, up from 16.6 percent in 2011, while the U.K. rose from eighth place to fifth among Lithuanian export destinations after Russia, Latvia, Estonia and Germany, the statistics office said.

A quarter of U.K. imports from Lithuania are oil products from PKN Orlen’s Lithuanian refinery, according to the website of the British Chamber of Commerce in Vilnius. The rest are fertilizers, furniture and food, such as the Zemaitijos Pienas Pik-Nik brand cheese sticks sold at supermarket chains including Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc.