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Latvia Economy 1996

    • Overview:
      Latvia is rapidly becoming a dynamic market economy, rivaled only by Estonia among the former Soviet states in the speed of its transformation. However, the transition has been painful; in 1994 the IMF reported a 2% growth in GDP, following steep declines in 1992-93. The government's tough monetary policies and reform program have kept inflation at less than 2% a month, supported a dynamic private sector now accounting for more than half of GDP, and spurred the growth of trade ties with the West. Much of agriculture is already privatized and the government plans to step up the pace of privatization of state enterprises. Latvia thus is in the midst of recovery, helped by the country's strategic location on the Baltic Sea, its well-educated population, and its diverse - albeit largely obsolete - industrial structure.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $12.3 billion (1994 estimate as extrapolated from World Bank estimate for 1992)

    • National product real growth rate:
      2% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $4,480 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      1.9% (monthly average 1994)

    • Unemployment rate:
      6.5% (December 1994)

    • Budget:


        $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

    • Exports:
      $1 billion (f.o.b., 1994)

        oil products, timber, ferrous metals, dairy products, furniture, textiles

        Russia, Germany, Sweden, Belarus

    • Imports:
      $1.2 billion (c.i.f., 1994)

        fuels, cars, ferrous metals, chemicals

        Russia, Germany, Sweden, Ukraine

    • External debt:

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate -9.5% (1994 est.); accounts for 27% of GDP

    • Electricity:

        2,080,000 kW

        5.5 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        1,864 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      highly diversified; dependent on imports for energy, raw materials, and intermediate products; produces buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles

    • Agriculture:
      principally dairy farming and livestock feeding; products - meat, milk, eggs, grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; fishing and fish packing

    • Illicit drugs:
      transshipment point for illicit drugs from Central and Southwest Asia and Latin America to Western Europe; limited producer of illicit opium; mostly for domestic consumption; also produces illicit amphetamines for export

    • Economic aid:

    • Currency:
      1 lat = 100 cents; introduced NA March 1993

    • Exchange rates:
      lats per US$1 - 0.55 (December 1994), 0.5917 (January 1994), 1.32 (March 1993)

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year

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