Lithuanian exports grew by 2.6% last year, excluding oil products, despite the Russian embargo on many Lithuanian goods, with exports to Russia falling by more than 50%.

Lithuanian exporters replaced lost Russian markets by increasing exports to the European Union, Scandinavian countries and the United States, according to Rokas Grajauskas, Danske Bank's chief economist in the Baltic countries, writing in Lietuvos Rytas.

With Lithuanian exporters' dependence on the Russian market hugely reduced, Grajauskas said Lithuanian exports should grow by about 5% in 2016.

Lithuania’s dairy exports to the United States tripled in 2015 and even meat exporters grew their overall exports by 1%, increasingly targeting EU countries like Poland, the Netherlands and Italy.

The market to which exports grew the most were the EU countries up 7.6%, the Nordic countries up 6.1% and the USA up 32.6%.

In other words, the United States and Western and Northern Europe were becoming a realistic alternative to Russia for Lithuanian exporters, Grajauskas said.

After the drastic fall in exports to Russia, the country has already fallen out of the top ten most important local Lithuanian export markets. The Russian embargo caused most problems for Lithuanian milk and meat products, with dairy exports falling 25% after the ban, he said.

However, that decline was driven not just the Russian embargo but also by a glut of milk on European and world markets.

With Lithuanian exporters dependence on the Russian market hugely reduced , Grajauskas said Lithuanian exports should grow by about 5% in 2016.

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