VILNIUS - The Finance Ministry has raised its inflation projections for 2005 and 2006 following an unexpected surge in consumer prices this fall. The inflation forecast for 2005 has been raised by 0.2 percentage points to 2.7 percent. Next year the consumer price index is expected to rise 2.6 percent, 0.5 percentage points above the previous forecasts.
Still, financial authorities believe that the CPI will meet the Maastricht criteria, which regulates the eurozone.
Lithuania aims to adopt the euro on Jan. 1, 2007.
According to estimations by the ministry, the annual inflation might hit approximately 2.6 percent in April 2006, which would be almost in line with the respective Maastricht criterion.
Annual inflation in Lithuania averaged at 2.4 percent over the latest seven-month period, 0.2 percentage points below the respective Maastricht criterion, at 2.6 percent.
The European Commission has projected that the average inflation would reach 2.8 percent in Lithuania in 2006, while the lowest inflation would be in Sweden (1.4 percent), Finland (1.4 percent) and Germany (1.6 percent).
In order to comply with the Maastricht inflation criterion, new member states must keep their inflation rate within 1.5 percentage points of the three best-performing EU countries.