VILNIUS - Lithuania's current account deficit amounted to 1.1 billion litas (343 million euros) in the first three months of 2003, or 8.9 percent of the gross domestic product, according to preliminary data released by the Bank of Lithuania.
Compared with the first quarter of 2003, the country's current account deficit soared by 2.5 times, or by 707.3 million litas.
Lithuania's current account deficit came in at 3.8 percent of GDP in the January-to-March period of 2003.
The central bank attributed a change in first quarter's current account deficit to a rise in foreign trade deficit, which came in on the back of a surge in imports of goods prompted by a growth in domestic demand.
The Lithuanian Statistics Department has released data showing that the country's exports of goods rose by 8.5 percent year-on-year in the three-month period, facilitated by a rise in exports of consumer goods. Imports surged by 11.3 percent in the reporting period on the back of growth in intermediate consumption and imports of investment products.
In the services sector, exports grew 10 percent in the first quarter of 2004 versus the same period in 2003, while imports surged by 25 percent over this period. The total positive balance of services amounted to 419.5 million litas.
As of March 31, the country's financial foreign assets reached 17.2 billion litas, while the total Lithuanian international financial liabilities hit 37 billion litas. The deficit of foreign investments made up 19.8 billion litas.
Foreign direct investment inflows reached 643.3 million litas in the first quarter, a 23.3 percent rise year-on-year, the Bank of Lithuania also announced. FDI inflows in the first three months exceeded total FDI for 2003, or 552.2 million litas.