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  • Baltic Morning News

     

    The Economist writing on Latvia's prospects. The Economist magazine pointed out two possible scenarios which the EU fastest growing country might face. The magazine is especially worried about the external debt which has gone up from 22% of GDP to 112% GDP in last ten years (1996-2006). According to the first scenario, the GDP growth will gradually slow down to around 7% annually. The magazine suggests that the key factor is to manage internal demand, of which much can be cut by fiscal policy. However, the state budget for 2007 still targets a deficit of 1.4% of GDP. According to the second scenario, the domestic demand does not abate, and a hard landing will result. This would happen if the GDP grows at 10+% for another year or two. The full article can be seen at
    http://www.economist.com/agenda/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8539864

    Another IPO in Tallinn? Today's business daily Aripaev writes that one of the leading media companies in Baltics, Ekspress Group, could be preparing an IPO. The company's largest owner Hans H. Luik told Aripaev that the talks with investment bankers over the possible listing of the company on the Tallinn Stock Exchange will continue this week. The money could be used for acquisitions in Baltics and Romania, Luik added.

    Possible casino tragedy. A mother and her two daughters were found strangled in Tallinn, officials said Saturday. The man she had lived with was later found hanged. Although there is little information about the tragedy, it has been speculated that the man could have been a casino addict. This could bring up again the topic of stricter regulations. Hence, it is worth keeping an eye on Olympic Casino today.

    Estonia ranks top in global house prices. According to Global Property Guide, house prices in Estonia went up by 54% in 2006, the highest growth among the 40 countries monitored. Estonia was followed by Denmark and Norway, where housing prices grew by 23% and 14% in 2006, respectively.

    Builders happy with warm weather. The Latvian business daily Dienas Bizness writes that builders are enjoying the warm weather. "This is the golden age for builders," said Janis Lancers from construction company PBLC. Warm weather means there is no need for winter supplements for concrete and special heating, and thus companies are able to generate higher margins. The same applies to the other Baltic construction companies, such as Merko, Eesti Ehitus, and PST.

    LASCO sells two tankers. Latvian Shipping Company has decided to sell two Panamax-type tanker vessels in order to finance its new orders (4 mid-range tankers). Favourable market situation for the sale of the vessels was also one reason for the transaction.

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