May 12, 2009

Latvian economy falls 18 percent in Q1

Latvia's statistics office said the gross domestic product dropped 18 percent in the first three months this year compared with the same period 2008.

Latvia's economy declined 4.6 percent in 2008 and in the first quarter this year the country's production and services sectors have decreased sharply, the Baltic Times newspaper said Tuesday.

In the first quarter, hotel and restaurant services declined 34 percent, retail production went down 25 percent and manufacturing quantity dropped 22 percent, the Latvian Statistics Bureau said.

These drops resulted in a first quarter decline in state budget revenues, the newspaper said.

Before its GDP began dropping last year, Latvia registered a 11.9 percent rise in 2006 and a 10.2 percent increase in 2007.

Following the global economic crisis, the performance of Latvia's economy was among the worst in the European Union.

Latvia became member of the EU in 2004, and its GDP had been growing at about 10 percent a year.