Production of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes in Latvia soared over the first nine months of the year, as the country boosts exports to Western markets.
Production of alcohol rose 22.7 percent, or 8.1 million liters, from the same period last year to 43.8 million liters, while that of cigarettes increased 22 percent to 1.9 billion cigarettes, the State Revenue Service's statistics show.
Of the alcoholic beverages produced in Latvia, 48.5 percent were sold on the domestic market in the nine-month period (33.7 percent more than in the first nine months of 2004), while exports rose 14.6 percent to 21.3 million liters.
Vodka accounted for 66 percent of all alcoholic beverages produced in Latvia over the nine-month period, with three-fourths of this exported, particularly to the U.S.A. and Canada.
Revenue service specialists said that the increase in output of cigarettes was also export-related, as the amount of domestically sold cigarettes declined 17.5 percent to 755 million. From January-September exports of Latvian-made cigarettes increased 31.1 percent to 994.4 million. Of this amount 75.9 percent was delivered to other EU member states.
The most popular cigarettes in Latvia are Elita with a 15.7 percent market share, followed by Wall Street (11.9 percent) and Monte Carlo (10.8 percent).
Presently there are two companies in Latvia with licenses for producing tobacco products.