Latvia hopes to become the 18th EU member state to join the eurozone. Estonia became the 17th in 2011. The FT’s Nordic and Baltic correspondent Richard Milne spoke to the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, about his country’s experience in the eurozone and his advice to Latvia.
A vote of confidence in the euro: Latvia on Monday formally decided to join the troubled common currency, with the prime minister, finance minister and central bank governor jointly signing the application.
It might not make headlines in the ECB’s headquarters in Frankfurt. But for Riga this is big news – its most important economic decision since it joined the European Union in 2004. Continue reading »
Economic growth of 3 per cent in the eurozone? It sounds like a statistical error at a time when the common currency area is braced for a 0.4 per cent drop. But Estonia is set to record a 3 per cent expansion in 2012, nearly double the government’s forecast at the start of the year. And officials expect another 3 per cent in 2013.
Much of this is a rebound from the extra-severe shock that passed through Estonia and the other two Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania in 2009 when Estonian GDP dropped by a cumulative 18 per cent. Continue reading »
The Latvian government is hell-bent on joining the eurozone by January 2014 even though the move is unpopular among its people. Well, the government will be cheered and the people perhaps dismayed after Standard & Poor’s, the ratings agency, promoted the country to investment grade on Wednesday and applauded the government’s progress. Continue reading »
Sberbank, the Russian banking giant, is preparing to expand into the Baltic states, bne can reveal. In the first step, BPS-Sberbank, its Belarus operation, will open a subsidiary in Latvia. Continue reading »
The mood turned sour again on European markets on Monday, as fresh worries about Greece rattled investors’ nerves. But that didn’t stop Lithuania getting a one-year bond auction away at a pretty impressive yield, on the day the country said its economy grew by a healthy 4.3 per cent last year.
Nevertheless, a glance behind the headline figures suggests that even where things look cheerful, investors should be cautious. Continue reading »
As parts of the eurozone brace for a possible double-dip recession next year, the outlook for the emerging countries in central and eastern Europe looks a lot more resilient, according to a new report from Austria’s Erste Bank.
The key to the rosier outlook for the CEE region is that it looks to be a lot less vulnerable to external turbulence than was the case in 2008 and 2009. Continue reading »
Manufacturing across central and eastern Europe is losing steam. Purchasing managers indices released on Monday added to the signs of slowing recovery, as the eurozone’s worries continue to spill over into neighbouring countries.
But while factory activity is shrinking, factory owners are still betting on a turnaround. Continue reading »
Fast forward two months and Zatlers is firmly back in the political game, at the head of a new party. But the self-proclaimed progressive reformer’s resurgence has been accompanied by other developments that are unsettling investors. Continue reading »
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