Observer "Lietuva"
WEEK 37th

Saturday 13th of September, 2003

New challenge for securities market
Petras Austrevicius, the director general to the European Committee under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, said in the press conference dedicated for the tenth anniversary of the National Stock Exchange of Lithuania (NSEL) that Lithuania has made a huge progress in the sector of information technologies. In the second quarter of this year, 51 percent of Lithuania's residents had mobile telephones (13 percent in 2000), 28 percent were using internet (10 percent in 2000) while number of people using internet banking services grew from 0.5 percent in 2000 up to 14 percent in the second quarter of this year.
Last year, the overall turnover of NSEL exceeded LTL 2 billion; similar turnover is anticipated for this year, too.

Milk purchase price has increased
The average milk purchase price rose by 1.8 percent up to LTL 389.9/t in August this year if compared to August 2002. If compared to July, milk purchase price increased by 0.6 percent.
Kedainiai-based milk processing company Vikeda that is a producer of Dadu ice cream paid the highest price in August – LTL 700 for a ton of the highest-grade milk.
Kauno Pienas, a department of Pieno Zvaigzdes, paid LTL 399/t while Panevezio Pienas paid LTL 435.9/t.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Market of digital photo cameras expands
Demand for digital photo cameras has increased significantly over this year. The Statistics Department reports that import of digital photo cameras to Lithuania increased 1.5 times in the first half year compared to the relevant period last year.
Fujifilm Lietuva sold 686 digital photo cameras during the first six months of this year, or 4 times more than over the first half year of 2002.
Valerijus Vinikas, commercial director of Sergita, claims that 1,700 digital Canon photo cameras were sold in Lithuania by August 2003. Sergita is an official representative of Canon in Lithuania. It is expected that sales of digital photo cameras will double this year.
Representative of Canon says that digital photo cameras for amateurs, which cost LTL 900-LTL 3,000 are the most popular in Lithuania.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Friday 12th of September, 2003

Export rose by 7.5 percent
Lithuanian exports rose by 7.5 percent in the first seven months of 2003, if compared to the respective period in 2002, while imports increased by 2.9 percent.
The preliminary data, based on customs declarations, showed that Lithuania's seven-month exports reached LTL 12.175 billion, whereas imports accounted for LTL 16.391 billion in January-July this year. The country's foreign trade deficit narrowed by 8.3 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 4.216 billion over the period.
In July, versus July 2002, Lithuania's exports rose by 11.9 percent, while imports expanded by 6.3 percent. As compared with June, exports shrank by 2.1 percent, whereas imports firmed 0.9 percent in July.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

SBA furniture companies boost their turnovers
Lithuania's six furniture producers, controlled by SBA group, reported aggregate sales of LTL 169.328 million for the first eight months of 2003, posting a growth of 34.5 percent versus January-August in 2002 when the figure made LTL 125.89 million.
Klaipedos Baldai raised eight-month sales by 44.7 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 66.574 million. Sales of Silutes Baldai rose by 39.7 percent to LTL 48.626 million, Kauno Baldai - 14.5 percent to LTL 26.405 million over the period. Karige boosted sales by 38.8 percent to LTL 16.731 million, Akmena - 27.2 percent to LTL 9.034 million. SBA stands in direct control over the furniture companies Klaipedos Baldai and Baldutura. Moreover, the group controls the producers Kauno Baldai, Silutes Baldai, Karige and Akmena through the furniture retailer Klaipedos Baldu Prekyba.
"We attempt to diversify our customers, and we cooperate with old and new buyers, who are known all over the world," Gintautas Misiukevicius, SBA press representative, says.
(Verslo Zinios)

LAL had 11-percent more passengers this year
The national air carrier Lietuvos Avialinijos (Lithuanian Airlines, or LAL) carried a total of 189,000 passengers on regular flights in the first eight months of 2003, a 10.7 percent rise if compared to the respective period last year. The average number of passengers per flight rose by 8.7 percent to 75. In August, the average number was up by 15.8 percent year-on-year and made 88 passengers
(Verslo Zinios)

Thursday 11th of September, 2003

Lithuania's economy is growing faster than expected
Lithuania's economy is growing faster than expected, inflation is still low, yet the government should continue pursuing policies aimed at maintaining macroeconomic stability and advancing structural reforms due to the relatively high unemployment rate and current account deficit, the report presented by the International Monetary Fund, says.
The IMF notes that Lithuania was well placed to achieve a rapid integration into the euro zone. However, they observed that in both the near and the medium term, the authorities faced upward pressure on public spending and a projected further decline in the revenue-to-GDP ratio.
The fund underlined the importance of carefully prioritizing expenditure, resisting spending pressures in the run-up to parliamentary elections in 2004. In this regard, the IMF urged the Lithuanian authorities to meet the budgeted fiscal deficit for 2003 and limit the 2004 deficit to significantly below 3 percent of GDP.
The IMF also emphasized the need for strict banking and insurance supervision and high standards in bank credit management, given the rapid growth in credit.
(Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios)

Shoemakers will try to consolidate their position in the local market
One of the largest footwear factories in the Baltic states – Vilnius company Apavikta – opened a reconstructed shop yesterday. The company is attempting to consolidate its position in the local market.
"Opening of the reconstructed shop in Vilnius is our first step in the penetration to the retail market. We are also planning to open shops in Siauliai and other largest Lithuanian towns", Audrius Sabaliauskas, the head of Apavikta, claims.
Apavikta has a certificate issued by the German PFI institute confirming that the company produces safe professional footwear for the European Union countries.
This year, Apavikta is planning to reach turnover of LTL 8 million. The company expects to sell 60 thousand pairs of footwear in Lithuania in 2003. Last year, the largest footwear producers in Lithuania – Lituanica, Apavikta and Sabalin – produced 500 thousand, 170 thousand and 90 thousand pairs of shoes respectively.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Debts to farmers
According to the data provided by municipalities, the delayed debts to agricultural producers accounted for LTL 42.9 million as of July 1, 2003.
The delay debts of milk industry companies made LTL 26.3 million (61 percent of the overall amount of debts) while that of meat companies stood at LTL 11 million and made 26 percent.
The overall debt to agricultural producers made LTL 124.4 million as of the end of July, an increase of LTL 11.4 million if compared to June.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Wednesday 10th of September, 2003

Lithuanians have sold more meat
Over the eight months of this year, Lithuania exported more beef and poultry if compared to the respective period last year, yet export of pork, butter and other milk products declined.
According to the data provided by the State Food and Veterinary Agency, Lithuania exported 2,357 tons of beef, more than 1,000 tons of pork and 1,875 tons of poultry in January-August this year. Cow export has doubled while that of pigs and horses has shrunk over the period.
In January-August, 5,374 tons of canned milk were exported to the EU and CIS countries as well as Poland, Latvia and Estonia.
(Verslo Zinios)

Ecological farms are getting more popular
Ecological farming is gaining popularity in Lithuania; this year, number of ecological farms increased more than 1.5 times while their area grew three times if compared to last year.
Presently, there are 695 certified ecological farms in Lithuania, an increase of 76.8 percent from last year (393); their area makes 24.28 thousand hectares, 2.8 times more if compared to 2002 when it made 8.78 thousand.
Gediminas Almantas, an officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, says that more researches should be carried out in order to ensure further development of ecological farming in Lithuania. Presently, some LTL 100 thousand are allotted for scientific researches in ecological farming every year.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena)

Flow of news. Electricity
The state-owned power utility Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy) channeled 5.1 billion kWh of power for exports in the first eight months of 2003, boosting sales on foreign markets by 24.4 percent, in year-on-year terms.
Power sales to Belarus made up 2.7 billion kWh, to Russia - 1.6 billion kWh, to Latvia - 415.7 million kWh, to Poland - 339.7 million kWh, and to Estonia - 41.8 million kWh in the January-to-August period, Lietuvos Energija has reported.
(Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios)

Tuesday 9th of September, 2003

Home users will be boosting IT market
Lithuanian software and hardware wholesaler GNT Lietuva forecasts that the Lithuanian IT market that grew by 6-7 percent in the first half of this year will show a growth of 15-20 percent for the overall year 2003.
"Such a slow market growth was hampered by a sharp US dollar decline. This factor could affect the annual market forecasts, too" Vytautas Stunzenas, the CEO of GNT Lietuva, says.
According to Stunzenas, home users are expected to be active in the autumn and this will be the major reason that will propel the IT market.
"We estimate that a rapid surge of the household sector will continue as long as some 35 percent will have acquired computer hardware. We suppose that this may be achieved within a couple of years", he says.
Presently, some 15-17 percent of the Lithuanian households own computers, the figure is expected to reach some 25 percent by the end of this year.
(Kauno Diena)

0.7-percent deflation – in August
A 0.7-percent deflation was registered in August compared to July, driven lower by falling foodstuff and clothing prices. The Statistics Department had forecasted a 0.2-percent deflation for August. This year so far, inflation was only recorded for Mach and June, at 0.3 and 0.1 percent respectively.
Over the year from August 2002 to August 2003, consumer prices in Lithuania decreased by 1.1 percent. Prices of consumer goods dipped by 0.9 percent in August versus July, while prices of services were down 0.2 percent over the month.
According to the Statistics Department, August's consumer price index was weighed down by a 1.6-percent drop in prices of foodstuffs and non-alcoholic drinks as well as a 1.6-percent decline in clothing and footwear prices.
(Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Ekranas is planning to grow
The Lithuanian color picture tube manufacturer Ekranas expects to boost its output to 4.6 million units in 2004, up by 18 percent compared to the forecast output of 3.9 million this year.
Ekranas' management board took the decision to increase production output at its meeting on Friday. The company also decided to produce 1 million units of 15-inch flat screen tubes, which drew a great deal of attention from customers in a recent international electronics exhibition in Berlin.
Ekranas reported sales of 2.3 million units for the first eight months of 2003, an 8.1 percent increase in year-on-year terms. The company aims to achieve record monthly sales of over 400,000 in September.
(Verslo Zinios)

Construction market grows at the most rapid pace in Lithuania
In the first half of this year, construction market grew the most in Lithuania among the Baltic states, yet Estonian companies posted the biggest sales.
In January-June, Lithuanian construction companies boosted their sales by 26 percent up to LTL 1.5 billion, the Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT), has reported.
Construction expenditures increased by 1 percent in Lithuania and 4 percent in Estonia. Meanwhile, Latvia reported a 2-percent decline in the construction expenditures.
(Verslo Zinios)

Monday 8th of September, 2003

Brewers – in the water market
Last summer was successful for mineral water producers. This year, the market grew by more than 20 percent. The brewery Svyturys-Utenos Alus was the leader of the market; the company sold 6.89 million litres of Montavit and Vichy mineral water over the period.
Other producers of mineral water are also delighted with the results; for example Druskininku Rasa increased its turnover by more than 10 percent.
Lithuanian mineral water market has a huge potential to grow, as consumption volume is considerably lower than that of other countries. In 2002, a Lithuanian resident drank 20 litres of mineral water while in Italy and France the figure made 141 litres and 133 litres respectively.
Over the recent years, more expensive mineral water has boosted its share in the market.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Butinge 7.5 million tons of oil
The Lithuanian oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil) loaded some 7.5 million tons of crude oil onto tankers at its Butinge terminal in the first eight months of 2003, up from 3.32 million tons handled in the same period last year.
The annual volume of crude exported via Butinge is expected to reach 11.5 million tons this year, Oleg Ukrainec, head of the terminal, said in a news conference on Friday.
The terminal currently has an annual throughput capacity of 14 million tons. The terminal handled 6.234 million tons of oil last year.
In early July, Mazeikiu Nafta launched the construction of two new oil reservoirs with a capacity of 52,000 cubic meters each at Butinge. The project, estimated to cost around EUR 18.5 million, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Mazeikiu Nafta posted a profit of LTL 74.068 million for the first half of 2003, based on the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Under the Lithuanian accounting principles (LAP), the financial result for the first six months of 2003 was a net profit of LTL 146.4 million.
(Respublika, Verslo Zinios)

External factors correct income of the state budget
Deflation processes and a decline of taxed import volume that was caused by the drop of the US dollar have corrected flows to the state budget. According to the data provided by the Ministry of Finance, in January-August, the state budget received LTL 108 million more income if compared to the same period last year, yet LTL 66 million fewer than it had been estimated.
The budget income flows have slowed down due to unplanned external processes in the country's macroeconomics. US dollar rate that declined by 17.5 percent over the eight months has also had a great negative affect. In January-August, it was planned to receive an income of LTL 5.966 billion while only LTL 5.9 billion were collected. Last year, the eight-month income made LTL 5.792 billion.
"There is a risk that the state budget will not receive the planned income", the Minister of Finance, Dalia Grybauskaite, says.
(Respublika, Verslo Zinios)

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