Summed up

  • 2000-01-13
LATVIANS LIKE OPEL: In 1999, "Opel Astra", with 206 registered cars,
is the most popular new passenger vehicle in Latvia sold in the past
year, according to data provided by Latvian automobile dealers.
"Volkswagen Bora"ranks second with 198 cars sold, with "Honda CR-V"in
third with 186. In fourth place is "VAZ 21213"with 182 registered
automobiles, followed by "Ford Focus"with 169. The ten most popular
cars also include Renault Megane, 159; Toyota Land Cruiser, 153;
Peugeot 206, 149; Mitsubishi Pajero, 141 and Honda Civic, 136.

LITHUANIA READIES PORK REVENGE: Following an exchange of notes on
pork tariffs, Lithuania said that it maintains an option to retaliate
A note sent by Latvia's foreign affairs ministry on Jan 6 said that
protective measures have been adopted in compliance with the Baltic
Free Trade Agreement as well as WTO directives. The note emphasises
that Latvia is ready to continue consultations on gradual reduction
of pork import restrictions. Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry
stressed that it would stick with its opinion that Latvia imposed
market protection measures without presenting proof of the harm that
pork imports from Lithuania had done to Latvia producers. Lithuania
treats it as violation of a trilateral agreement and "trading area in
agriculture products that has been formed among the three Baltic
states."Latvian protectionist measures halted Lithuanian pork exports
to Latvia completely and affected growth of Estonian pork exports to
Lithuania, Lithuania's foreign ministry said. Lithuanian Agriculture
Ministry is preparing a comprehensive pork market analysis to be
presented to the Free Market Agreement Joint Committee meeting to be
held in Tallinn at the end of January.

LATVIANS TALKING MORE THAN EVER:The number of subscribers at the
mobile phone operator Latvijas Mobilais telefons on Dec. 28 reached
200,000, said LMT spokeswoman Marika Legzdina. The 200,000th
subscriber, Inguna Abolina-Abola, received 200,000 seconds, about
55.5 hours, of free calls and a cellular phone, Nokia 8210, as well
as other free services. LMT Director General Juris Binde said that
LMT subscriber figures are exceeding forecasts. One of reasons for
LMT's success could be its services and tariff plan introduced last
year, which makes LMT services accessible to a broader range of
clientele, Binde said.

INVESTORS LIKE BANKING: Investors continued to focus on the banking
sector at the Tallinn Stock Exchange on Jan. 7, pushing the market
somewhat higher. The TALSE index inched 0.47 percent up to 136.38
points while the market's trading turnover slipped to 27.6 million
kroons. Hansapank share, which saw the highest investor interest on
Jan. 7, became 1.76 percent more expensive, closing at 106.75 kroons,
being traded for 9.6 million kroons. Uhispank stock closed 2.63
percent higher at 27.3 kroons and Optiva Pank 0.48 percent higher at
10.55 kroons.

TAX POLICE CATCH CASH IMPORTS: The eastern Utena unit of Lithuania's
tax police department has brought action against the owner of the
individual firm Janas Caplinskis based in the town of Visaginas who
allegedly smuggled into the country a large quantity of cash, the
interior ministry said. Last summer, Caplinskis declared in Kena
railway station an import of $77,500, indicating Ukrainian firm NTZ
Paritet Plius as the sender. Later, the man transferred the money to
a resident of Siauliai who was an alleged agent of the company. But
Ukraine's tax police informed its Lithuanian counterpart that this
firm had never maintained any financial or commercial contacts with
Caplinskis. The money laundering prevention unit of Lithuanian tax
police department traced the smuggling of huge cash quantities
through Vilnius territorial customs by firms based in Vilnius,
Kaunas, Siauliai and Visaginas. In declarations the smugglers wrote
that the senders of money were firms from either Russia or Ukraine. A
deeper probe revealed the illegal refund of VAT from the state budget
was arranged by the local export firms.

OIL UP 150 PERCENT: According to Lithuania's statistical department,
last year saw a 23.3 percent rise in industrial product prices
because prices of oil products surged by 148.1 percent. Excluding oil
products, prices of industrial products saw 1.6 percent drop in a
year's time. Price of oil products went up by 23.9 percent last
December, month-on-month. This had a considerable impact on the
producer price index, which stood at 106.9 percent in December 1999.
Excluding oil products, industrial prices surged by only 0.02 percent
in the previous month. Prices of goods sold in the domestic market
went up by 3.5 percent, and those of oil products - by 19.3 percent
last December. Excluding the oil sector, prices of goods sold locally
saw a 0.3 percent plunge in a month's time.