DOLLARS ROLL IN: The Bank of Lithuania had $54.5 million in income from foreign exchange reserves investment in 1999, up from $51.7 million dollars earned in the previous year. The most of the forex reserves were invested in securities issued by foreign governments and international financial institutions, and kept at foreign banks.
GOODS DROP GOING IN AND OUT: Last year in Latvia export prices dropped by 3.6 percent and import prices for 5.3 percent over 1998, the Latvian Central Statistics Office said Feb. 22. From export goods significant drop in prices was seen by various industrial goods like furniture, toys -- 9.1 percent, paper, cardboard 7.9 percent and food industry products (including drinks and tobacco) 7.2 percent. Export prices of wood and wooden materials saw a drop of 3.6 percent, machines, tools and electric equipment 2.8 percent, metals and metal works 1.7 percent. Import prices dropped 5.3 percent over 1998 with prices falling in the most important groups of goods, except mineral products that saw prices jumping by 4.3 percent.
SUDS AND EQUIPMENT: About 70 firms will take part in the beer-brewing exhibition "Riga Beer 2000" more than 50 in the catering exhibition "Riga Gastro 2000" to run at the same time March 2-4. Equipment for bars, cafes and hotels, various household items, public catering technology, disinfection and cleaning products, processed foods and spices will be displayed at the exhibition. The Latvian Hotels and Restaurants Association will also take part in the exhibition, presenting the latest trends in serving food. Not only representatives of Latvia's major breweries will take part in "Riga Beer 2000," but also from Russia, Lithuania, Germany, Finland, Holland, Estonia, and Japan.
LITHUANIANS, DUTCH FLY UNITED:Lithuanian Air Lines, Lietuvos Avialinijos and KLM will code-share on the Vilnius-Amsterdam route, effective March 1. It is LAL's fourth code-sharing agreement. The Lithuanian carrier has agreements with Finnair, Poland's LOT and Latvia's AirBaltic.In March, LAL passengers will be offered a wide choice of flights to more than 500 destinations in 95 countries operated by KLM and its partners.LAL deputy commercial director Vidas Zvinys hailed the signing of the agreement as a sign of the company's international recognition. Lithuania is the first post-Soviet state to enter into code-sharing partnership with KLM.LAL launched flights to Amsterdam in 1993. Last year the number of flights was increased to five per week.
LITHUANIA MAY GET GAS IN SIBERIA: Natural gas supplier Itera Lithuaniais is looking at leasing two north Siberian gas fields owned by the U.S.-based Itera Group, the daily Lietuvos Rytas reported. Zigmas Mackevicius, head of Itera Lithuania, said the company may have a deal in two years. Natural gas extraction in the north Siberian region amounts to 18 billion cubic meters annually, and it is planned that the output will increase to 43 billion in the near future. The company's own funds will make up 20 percent of the project costs. Set up by the West Lithuanian Industry and Finance Corporation, and the U.S.-based Itera International Energy in 1999, Itera Lithuania plans to supply 600 million cubic meters of gas to Lithuania this year.
FILL IT UP: All major motor fuel retailers in Estonia lowered the price of their fuel this week, with a reference to a price fall on the world market. The first to announce a fall by 0.15 kroons in the price of its fuels was HydroTexaco on Feb. 26. The company sells 95 octane and 98 octane gasoline respectively at 9.25 kroons ($0.59) and 9.55 kroons a liter and diesel at 8.15 kroons a liter. Neste Estonia lowered its prices Feb. 27 to 9.35 kroons per liter for 95 octane , 9.55 kroons for 98 octane and 8.90 kroons for diesel.In Neste's automated stations, the prices are 0.25 kroons cheaper. Statoil is now selling 95 octane at 9.35 kroons, 98 octane at 9.55 kroons and diesel at 8.60 kroons a liter.