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WEEK 25th 2004

Friday, the 18th of June, 2004

Unemployment decreases to 8.7 % in May
On June 1, 93,000 unemployed were registered in Latvia. This is 8.7 per cent of the total number of economically active residents. Compared to the data of other months of this year, the number has decreased by at least 3,000 people. Most of the unemployed or 58 per cent are women. 24,600 persons are not able to find a job for more than a year. The highest unemployment rate is in Latgale. 43 per cent of unemployed had the rights to receive an unemployment benefit in May. They were paid a total of LVL 2.3 million.

Latvia is criticised for piracy
On June 16, the US Ambassador to Latvia, Brian Carlson, criticized Latvian government about insufficient actions on combating with piracy of intellectual property in Latvia. According to a survey of International Intellectual Property Alliance, Special 301, Latvia has one of the highest indexes of piracy among the new EU member states. This has provoked concerns that Latvia could be accused for causing losses to the giants of the world entertainment industry. Last year, the piracy of music records reached 80 per cent in Latvia. Latvia is also one of the leaders of computer programs’ piracy among the new EU states.

Thursday, the 17th of June, 2004

Want restrictions
Due to the high activity of farmers in receiving financing from the EU structural funds and to avoid spending this money already in the first year the Ministry of Agriculture considers possibility to introduce several restrictions on receiving the EU financing. One of the changes could be decreasing the maximal possible sum to receive for a project from EUR 800,000 to EUR 500,000 and the other – change the basic rate of public co-financing from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. The Latvian Cooperation Board of Agricultural Organizations will need two weeks to discuss these restrictions. The new order if accepted could come into force in September.
Dienas Bizness

How to attract money
The Ministry of Economy has submitted a conception to the Latvian government how to attract foreign investments. The officials have discovered that some indexes of attractiveness of our country to investments are far from the indexes of the average level of Europe. Providing tax reductions, financial help and utilizing EU funds could solve the problems. If the government approves the conception the ministry will develop a certain plan of state support for attracting investments.
Kommersant Baltic Daily

Wednesday, the 16th of June, 2004

Interest of foreign countries grows
According to the Latvian Investment and Development Agency interest of foreign companies in investment possibilities in Latvia has significantly increased after May 1. Several new investment projects will be implemented in Latvia soon. Entrance of foreign investors could become only larger in future. Some of the companies that are going to execute large investment projects in Latvia are the Swedish Syntagon, the Austrian-German chain Woolworth and the company ZF Friedrichshafen.
Dienas Bizness

Successful beginning of year for manufacturers
In the first quarter of 2004, the volume of manufactured goods increased by 9.4 per cent compared to the same period a year ago. The largest increase or 11.8 per cent was in March. Manufacturing industry increased the most during this time (plus 9.8 per cent). The largest increase (plus 35.5 per cent) was for metal production, production of rubber and plastic products (plus 30.7 per cent) and production of radio and television connection equipments (plus 22.7 per cent). The products of the manufacturing industry are mostly exported. 53.7 per cent of these products were exported during the first quarter of 2004. 37.8 per cent of it went to the EU countries. The largest exports of the manufacturing industry form metal products (92.8 per cent of all the produced metal products) and clothing (87.9 per cent).
Dienas Bizness

Tuesday, the 15th of June, 2004

Half percent added to GDP
On June 15, president of the Bank of Latvia, Ilmars Rimsevics, announced new forecasts on GDP growth in 2004. Now the Bank of Latvia anticipates having 7.5 per cent GDP growth this year. Rimsevics explains the new forecast with the success of Latvia’s manufacturing industry, construction, trade, transport, finance, telecommunications and other services. It is also based on the rapid GDP growth in the first quarter of this year, dynamics of credits, April’s results of the production and development of conjunction in the current quarter. Meanwhile, the state balance of payments experiences a deficit of LVL 149.1 million. In April 2003, it accounted only for LVL 76.7 million. The Bank of Latvia explains this with a rapid increase of imports into Latvia prior to Latvia’s accession to the EU. The increase of imports was caused by the expected changes in trade after the accession.

Monday, the 14th of June, 2004

Neighbours are better paid
According to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, in the first quarter of 2004, salaries in Latvia were the lowest among the Baltic States. During this time a monthly gross salary was EUR 292 on average in Latvia while in Estonia it reached EUR 431 and in Lithuania – EUR 332. The average monthly salary in Latvia has increased by 10.8 per cent in Latvia compared to the same period a year ago, while in Lithuania it has grown by 1.8 per cent and in Estonia by 6.5 per cent. The average gross salary has decreased by 4.6 per cent in Latvia, by 5.1 per cent in Lithuania and 5.3 per cent in Estonia compared to the last quarter of 2003.
Dienas Bizness

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