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QUIETLY CONFIDENT: Swedbank's Liden sees little cause for concern in the Baltic states (Photo: Swedbank)
TALLINN -- Jan Liden, head of Swedbank has indicated that the expectedslowdown of the Baltic economies isn't proceeding entirely in line with earlierpredictions.
Speaking to the Reuters news agency, Liden said that Swedbank was stillhopeful that a 'soft' landing would be acheievd and ruled out any chance ofcurrency devaluations.
"We expected to see signs of a slowdown earlier than we have seen. So inthat respect, maybe it will be harsher, in the sense that it will be moreabrupt," Liden said.
"But we believe that the economic growth will be reduced and the lendinggrowth will be less," he added. He was speaking in Estonia while attendinga regional development conference.
"A soft landing is what we hope for. I don't think you can see it in thenumbers yet, except for, maybe, in Estonia. We might see it in Latvia in thebeginning of next a year and the economy will slow down and the imbalances willimprove," he concluded.
At the same event Linden's colleague within the Swedbank group, Erkki Raasuke, CEO of Hansabank said that the Baltic states should really be treated as a single market rather than three separate ones.
"We are verysimilar and should act jointly," he said.
"Thisis partly an emotional issue, but I believe that we are already gettingsomewhere. At least our bank has gone to significant lengths ineliminating borders. We have burned some bridges and cannot go back,"he said.