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WEEK 19th. 2004

Friday, the 14th of May, 2004

Increase inflation forecast
The Bank of Latvia has increased the forecast for average year's inflation in Latvia from 4% to 4.5%. During the last months the prices were growing faster than it was forecasted before, because some unpredictable factors influenced the situation. Banking analysts think that inflation level could reach 4.5%-5.2% and even 10%, according to the most pessimistic forecast.
Dienas Bizness

Import's predominance over export increases
In the first quarter of 2004 the amount of Latvian foreign trade increased. According to the data of the Central Statistical Bureau, the amount of export reached LVL 457.2 million (EUR 683.408 million), while the amount of import was LVL 792.1 million (EUR 1.184 billion). This year import exceeded export by 73.2%, but in the same period of 2003 by 71.5%. The main export goods were timber and wooden items, which constituted 35.9% of the whole amount, as well as metals and metal items (11.7%). As for import, the machines and electric equipment are on the first place (19.1%).
Dienas Bizness

Thursday, the 13th of May, 2004

Brussels examines lobbying opportunities
The opinion poll conducted by Eurochambers in Brussels shows that the Latvian businessmen more than the businessmen in any other country are sure that Latvia's accession to the EU will not influence their business perspectives, and it is not important to take part in the lobbying process in Brussels. The general director of Latvian Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Janis Leja, hopes that after some time their interest will grow. This week six Latvian businessmen left for the business trip, during which they can examine the lobbying opportunities and businessmen's influence in the process of making the decisions within the EU.

Wednesday, the 12th of May, 2004

Industrial production output increased by 11.8%
In March 2004 industrial production output grew by 11.8% in comparison with the same month of 2003 and by 1.3% in comparison with February. Metal industry experienced the highest growth, by 65.1%. Rubber and plastic production grew by 31.2%, chemical substances production by 21.6% and machines production by 21.2%.
Dienas Bizness

Growth of prices continues
In April Latvia experienced the most significant growth of prices during the year. The prices increased by 5% in comparison with the same month of 2003, and by 0.6% in comparison with March 2004. The most significant increase was in the food product sector, especially grain and cereals, as well as sugar and sweets. However, the price of fruits decreased by 4.5%.
Dienas Bizness

Tuesday, the 11th of May, 2004

Customs hanged
On May 10 the director of Latvian Customs, Martins Tols, was dismissed. One of the reasons could be the disorder in customs affairs after Latvia entered the European Union. For example, the computer systems did not work properly because the customs officials did not know how to use them. Many of them did not even know how to fill the new declarations correctly. Besides, they never informed their authorities about the problems. As a result, many cargos had to wait for nearly a week to go through the customs clearance.
Kommersant Baltic Daily

Monday, the 10th of May, 2004

Last year Estonia saved up more foreign investments
In 2003 Estonia had the largest amount of the direct foreign investments among all three Baltic States, EUR 5.13 billion. It is by 27.1% more in comparison with 2002. Latvia had the smallest amount of foreign investments, EUR 2.67 billion, which is by 0.5% less than the previous year. Lithuania had EUR 3.97 billion, by 3.9% more.
Dienas Bizness

Threaten competitiveness of the sailors
The EU requires that the owners of the ships should pay taxes for their employees, if they are the EU-citizens, according to the tax rates of the country, which the ship belongs to. It could increase owners' expenses. Therefore, it would be more profitable for them to employ sailors from Russia, Ukraine and third world countries. At present there are 22 thousand of sailors in Latvia, 90% of them work in the foreign ships.
Dienas Bizness

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