BANK DEPOSITS RISE: Deposits at Latvia's commercial banks grew by 7.6 percent or 100.3 million lats ($168 million) during March to 1.426 billion lats at the end of March, according to Latvian Commercial Banking Association. During the first three months of the year, deposits at commercial banks grew by 8.5 oercent or 111.9 million lats. Late in March, Parex Bank had attracted the highest deposits at 316 million lats, followed by Latvian Unibanka with 200.1 million lats and Hansabanka with 184 million lats in deposits. The deposits were lowest at Latvijas Biznesa Banka at 1.1 million lats. Saules Bank saw the biggest deposit increase in March as deposits at the bank grew by 48.5 million lats or two times.
LATVIAN YARN OVER THE GOALPOST: An agreement between Ogre Knitwear and Britain's Woolmark Sportwool on supplying yarn will take effect as of May 1, Baltijas Holdings company president and Ogre council chairman Vassily Melnik told reporters. Baltijas Holdings is the owner of Ogre.The yarn supplied by Ogre over the next two years will be used to produce uniforms for football players of Manchester United football team. At the initial stage Ogre would supply four tons of yarn a week, but supply volumes are expected to grow significantly after Aug. 1.
LATVIANS GO MOBILE: Currently about 12.57 percent of Latvia's population use mobile telephones, according to statistics from both Latvian mobile communications operators - Latvijas Mobilais telefons and Baltkom GSM. LMT spokesman Davids Dane said that there were 220,292 LMT subscribers as of April 16 and that 72.4 percent of cell phone users in Latvia are LMT-connected. Baltkom GSMs Marketing Director Ilvars Metnieks said the company had 84,000 subscribers at the beginning of April, including open payment accounts and Zelta zivtina (Goldfish) prepay clients. According to the Central Statistical Bureau, the population of Latvia was 2,420,800 at the end of March 2000.
THEY'RE MADDER THAN HECK: Public transport workers of the city of Vilnius are getting ready for a one-day strike on May 18, leaving the capital city completely without public transport services. The workers union leader of the municipal company Vilniaus Troleibusai, Danuta Ilyina, said that demands stated a year ago had not changed, i.e. to pay the workers their wages on time and to increase their pay, and finally to abolish the municipal transport services company which participates in managing the bus and trolleybus depots subordinate to the Vilnius local government. Public transport companies of Lithuania's largest cities have been burdened by huge debts as a result of unfunded reduced or free fares on public transport.
AFFORDABLE HOUSES? Tallinn will start buying up vacant land to launch construction of small houses, promising owners of houses costing up to 400,000 kroons ($24,200) that the city will build communications. Tallinn will thus launch an extensive housing construction project based on private initiative, Mayor Juri Mois said. The city on April 12 ruled to exercise its preemptive right to purchase about a 10 hectare plot of land near Tiskre on the outskirts of Tallinn for 4.5 million kroons, or approximately 49 kroons per square meter. Together with an adjoining municipality-owned plot, the first potential small house development will cover an area of 19 hectares.
EU WELCOME AT ESTONIA PORTS: The Parliament April 12 harmonized Estonia's shipping code with European Union requirements by adding to it a provision for coastal trade which will entitle all EU member nations to engage in transport between Estonian ports upon the country's entry into the EU. According to the amendment, all EU member nations will upon Estonia's accession to the union have the right to provide transport and towing services between Estonian ports and a relevant restriction in the shipping code passed in 1991 will be abolished.