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Saturday 03.12.2016 | Name days: Raita, Jogita, Evija
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Economic Diary of Latvia. Only good news today

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAt the beginning of the week, Latvia received a positive evaluation from OECD in regards to the country’s readiness to join the organization.

OECD Corporate Management Committee gave Latvia a positive evaluation in regards to the country’s progress in the field of corporate management of state companies and its readiness to apply OECD standards in this field.

As a result, Latvia has received positive evaluations from 21 committees of OECD that assessed Latvia’s compliance with standards and practices employed by OECD. This marks the conclusion of technical talks regarding the country’s possible joining OECD.

In order for Latvia to become the 35th member of the organization, an official decision by the Council of OECD is necessary. It is planned that discussions will take place in May.

The next step after the issue of an official decision by the OECD Council will be the signing of the agreement on Latvia’s joining of OECD.

As noted by Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics, the process has demonstrated that membership in OECD is not the goal itself – it is an instrument that will help the country to improve its activities in most economic and social areas.

Life’s improving

Another piece of good news came from SEB Bank this week: results of the bank’s outlook showed that the state of households in Baltic States continues to improve.

Furthermore, the improving economic situation also contributes to residents’ outlook on life, encouraging them to take on loans. Demand for loan services has increased, but it has yet to reach its pre-crisis level.

Average wages have grown 7.4% in Latvia, 6.9% in Estonia and 6% in Lithuania.

Purchasing power of Latvian residents had reached its pre-crisis level last year.

The volume of deposits made over the course of the year has increased 7.9% in Lithuania, 7.4% in Estonia and 6.3% in Latvia.

Latvian-Belarusian romance

Following the decision to lift EU sanctions against Belarus, Latvia has begun taking active actions in establishing multi-lateral cooperation with its neighbor.

This week, Latvian ambassador in Belarus Martins Virsis announced at a meeting with the Chairman of Grodno Oblast Executive Committee Vladimir Kravtsov that Latvia is prepared to assist the entry of Belarusian goods to the European market. The ambassador also noted that Latvia is interested in expanding the turnover of goods with Belarus. He also added that certification often becomes an obstacle for exploring new markets. Latvia’s Chamber for Commerce and Industry is prepared to assist companies in Belarus in this area. An examination centre has been formed under the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Specialists of this centre offer to share their experience in exploring the European market. According to Virsis, it is necessary to develop joint projects in business and develop connections among entrepreneurs. Grodninvest special economic area can become a good platform for that. The logistical potential of Grodno is also worth of interest. There is also the potential for the development of tourism. Martins Virsis notes that Belarus can be an interesting location for Latvian tourist companies, because the country has a rich history and curious historic objects.

Know our best!

Another piece of news worth mentioning is the accomplishment of Latvian companies at the European Fintech Awards in Amsterdam.

413 European financial-technologies companies were nominated this year. For the first time, two companies from Latvia – UX Design Agency and 4Finance – were chosen for the TOP-3 list in the Innovative banking solutions category.

The world is currently experiencing a technological revolution, and the financial sector is no exception. The proportion of electronic transactions continues to increase in the global economy. Last month, the largest European banks – HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Bank, DNB, Banco Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays had announced their intentions to close more than 1,000 offices.

Experts predict that Sweden will become the first country with a non-cash economy by 2030. With that, the European Fintech Awards was founded in Europe specifically to search for perspective and innovative technological companies.

Ref: 017.109.109.8991


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Following an investment of 3.3 million, K-rauta becomes K Senukai

On Friday, 2 December, Baltics’ largest construction, repair and household goods store network Kesko Senukai opened its first new concept shopping centre K Senukai in Riga, Lucavsalas Street. This venture cost the company EUR 3.3 million.

Saeima deputies allocated record-large amount of money for «friend projects»

The money of Latvia’s budget for next year allocated not with the intention to solve problems in priority industries but rather to satisfy desires of certain politicians and their lobby groups has reached an astonishing new peak – EUR 27.9 million, according to estimates, as reported by Ir.

Income from foreign travellers in Latvia declines

In Q3 2016, Latvia’s current account had a surplus of EUR 93.4 million or 1.5% of GDP, notes Bank of Latvia economist Linda Vecgaile.

airBaltic to sell Boeing 737 after replacing them with Bombardier CS300

Latvian national airBaltic airline intends to gradually update its fleet with Bombardier CS300 aircraft. The airline plans to sell its owned Boeing 737, says Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic.

Numbers of active voters in Latvia continue to decline before next year’s elections

47% of Latvian vote-ready citizens plan to take part in next year’s municipal elections, according to results of a survey carried out by SKDS following a request from the Central Election Commission in November.

BATL: transit industry’s potential is enormous, but not used to its fullest

Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics is satisfied that real and constructive work has commenced in cooperation with LDz Logistics and Transport and Communications Institute on Latvia’s transport and logistics, including the development of a strategy for the transit industry.

Ominous milestone: one-millionth Lithuanian to leave soon

The statisticians claim that, every day, 120 Lithuanians hop onto Scandinavia and Western Europe-bound planes in search of a better life. This month, Lithuania is likely to reach an ominous and heart-wrenching milestone with the country‘s émigré number expected to go over one million. To calm down the naysayers, the estimate is unofficial.

Snowy weekends expected in Latvia

The first days of December will go by under influence from a cyclone. Because of that, many regions of the country are expected to experience snowfall. Rain is only expected along the coast. Ice is expected to form as a result and visibility will likely reduce because of snowfall.

Three European cities plan to ban diesel cars

Looking for ways to improve their quality of air, the mayors of Madrid, Paris and Athens have on December 1 expressed readiness to introduce bans on cars and trucks with diesel engines by 2025.

French President Hollande refuses to run for re-election

France’s President François Hollande has unexpectedly announced that he would not run for re-election to the post.

Several hundred Estonian reserve soldiers summoned to unexpected drills

The cabinet of ministers of Estonia ordered on December 1 to hold snap military drills to test the ability of reserve troops to reach combat readiness in 24 hours.

Freight turnover and freight traffic declines at ports

Compared to Q3 2015, the volume of freights carried by land and pipeline transport has decreased by 1.8 million tonnes or 5.5 % in Q3 2016. The most notable drop in the volume of freights carried was recorded in rail transport – of 2.3 million tonnes or 18.9 %.

EU 2017 budget to provide the most support to youth and growth initiatives

In the next year’s budget, members of the European Parliament have secured larger support to unemployed youngsters and Erasmus+, as well as initiatives for support of small and medium-sized businesses, transport infrastructure projects and research. Commitment appropriations for 2017 total EUR 157.8578 billion, and payment appropriations EUR 134.49 billion.

Vejonis picks Kalnins as candidate for NAF commander

President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis has decided to propose National Armed Forces Joint Staff Chief Leonids Kalnins for the post of commander of Latvia’s National Armed Forces. Kalnins was previously proposed by Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, according to information from LETA.

Europol releases its Christmas calendar of EU’s most wanted criminals

European Union’s police body Europol has engaged in the often commercial pre-festive period by releasing Christmas advent calendar that will reveal one of bloc’s most wanted criminals every day up until Christmas.

Expert: Latvia’s real estate market is sick

In medical terms, Latvia’s real estate market is currently sick. It will only recover once all transactions are carried out using actual market price and those whose expectations are overestimated – drop out, said real estate specialist, member of Latvian Real Estate Association and board member of Real State Jurmala Igors Danilevics.

Prime Minister: Latvia’s economic growth is not as fast as it was expected in 2015

«Looking at national economy’s growth dynamics in 2016, we have noticed drastically different ratings. On the one hand, there are positive statistics that prove Latvia’s economic growth continues. It is not as fast as it was expected in 2015. It is expected that growth will continue in the future. A few days ago opinions of multiple banking experts appeared in the public space, saying that wage growth in Latvia will speed up next year. I would associate that with the government’s decisions and the Saeima’s approved budget for 2017,» – said Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis.

Estonia’s coalition distances itself from charges against ruling party

The coalition partners of Estonia’s Centre Party, which is headed by the Estonian Prime Minister, have this week distanced themselves from charges brought against the ruling party for allegedly receiving illegal political donations.

Finland’s Prime Minister blamed for attempts to limit press freedom

The Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä has denied allegations that he has attempted to affect, how press covers allegations against him and his relatives.

Restrictions for alimony avoiders and other decisions viewed by the Saeima

On Thursday, 1 December, the Saeima will decide on the new Subsistence Guarantee Fund Law. This law states that driving rights can be revoked for alimony avoiders.

OPEC oil exporters agree to reduce oil output to increase price

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on November 30 for the first time since 2008 to reduce oil supply in an attempt to make global oil prices grow. The organisatrion’s head Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada stated that a cut of 1.2 million barrels a day would start from January

Tragic dormitory fire in Turkey

Police in southern Turkey has detained six people after 11 pupils and a teacher died in a dorm fire.

Tick encephalitis infection cases increased by one-third in Latvia this year

Cold November forced ticks to enter hibernation. There is reason to believe tick activity in Latvia has ended for this year, admits entomologist Voldemars Spungis.

PHOTO: world’s first Bombardier CS300 aircraft arrives in Riga

On Wednesday, 30 November, Latvian airBaltic airline welcomed the world’s first Bombardier CS300 aircraft in Riga.

Retail trade turnover in Latvia up 0.2%

Compared to October 2015, total retail trade turnover rose by 0.2 % in October 2016. Turnover of retail trade in food products decreased by 2.7 %, whereas the turnover of retail trade in non-food products increased by 2.0 %.

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