Latvia's banking sector lost 346.8 million lats (494 million euros) combined for the first six months of this year, according to preliminary data from the Financial and Capital Market Commission, reports news agency LETA. Eleven banks operated with a total profit of 19 million lats. Bank of Latvia Press Secretary Martins Gravitis announced previously that expected Latvian bank losses would come in at 335.3 million lats. In the same period for 2008, the banks earned 166.6 million lats combined. Latvian bank profits for full year 2008 amounted to 78 million lats, a 79 percent fall on 2007. There are currently 21 banks and seven foreign bank branches in Latvia.
Cargo traffic at Latvia's ports reached a turnover of 32.3 million tons for the first half this year, 3.2 percent more than for the same period last year, according to Central Statistics Bureau data, reports LETA. Oil products made up 12.4 million tons of the cargo, 14.1 percent more than the first six months of 2008. Coal made up 10.5 million tons, 17.3 percent higher than the previous year, with grain and grain products shipping 1 million tons, up 2.7 percent. Volumes of other main cargo decreased for the period, with 1.4 million tons of timber being shipped, down by 28.1 percent, and 1.4 million tons of mineral fertilizers, off 30.6 percent. For the first half of 2009, 2.1 million tons of cargo came into Latvian, 29.2 percent less than in the first half of 2008. Cargo in containers was off by 32.6 percent, roll on/roll off cargo down by 24.6 percent, crude oil by 36.3 percent. For the period, 14.8 million tons of cargo was loaded and unloaded at the Port of Ventspils. The volume of cargo loaded rose by 1.3 percent and comprised 14 million tons, but the volume of cargo unloaded dropped by 26.3 percent. Cargo turnover at the Port of Riga in the first half of 2009 increased by 3 percent and reached 14.8 million tons. Cargo turnover at the Port of Liepaja was 2.1 million tons, a decrease of 8.1 percent compared to the first half of 2008. The volume of cargo loaded and unloaded at the minor ports was 0.6 million tons, a drop of 8.1 percent compared to the first half of 2008.