RIGA - Economic data released today shows Latvia's GDP is continuing to free fall as the government debates an ever harsher austerity plan.
A flash estimate released by the national statistics agency on Nov. 9 found that Latvia Gross Domestic Product decreased by 18.4 percent in the third quarter of the year, the national statistics agency reported.
The agency found that retail trade fell by a staggering 32 percent, while industry prices dropped by 17 percent and public administration by 16 percent.
The news came as the government struggles to amend next year's budget, which was passed through parliament in its first reading last week.
The government met with IMF and European Commission representatives on Saturday, where the lenders made recommendations on revisions to the budget.
Following a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 9, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis announced that the government will increase personal income tax from 23 percent to 25 percent - as well as agreeing in principle to support a progressive property tax - in a bid to help raise more funds.
The statistics agency also released inflation data, which was negative for the first time since Latvia regained independence, when standardized record keeping began.
A flash estimate found that third quarter GDP declined by 14.3 percent in Lithuania. Data on Estonia is not yet available.