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Dombrovskis: IMF is unpredictable partner

Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga, 27.01.2011.Print version
Latvia remained 'on target' to adopt the euro in 2014, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) said Thursday, but described the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as an 'unpredictable partner' in ongoing budget negotiations.

Latvia is the recipient of a EUR 7.5 billion bailout loan from the IMF, the European Union and other lenders. The terms of that package are regarded as among the toughest devised during the global economic crisis, requiring savings equivalent to 16% of gross domestic product (GDP) since 2008.


The IMF believes Latvia's 2011 budget needs to find additional savings of LVL 50 million (USD 97 million) in order to keep to an agreed budget deficit of less than 6% of GDP, writes LETA/DPA.


Dombrovskis voiced concern about the IMF's target numbers at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia.


He said the lenders had revised the deficit target to 5.4% and then lowered it again.


'Unfortunately, during our discussions with the IMF and European Commission we have discovered that six is not six,' he said. 'Six is not even 5.4. Currently 6 is 5.4 minus LVL 50 million.'


Dombrovskis restated Latvia's hopes to adopt the euro in 2014 but acknowledged that meeting the Maastricht criterion on inflation would be difficult because it was a 'moving target.'


The inflation target changes according to a formula based on the average of the three countries with the currency bloc's lowest rates.


Dombrovskis predicted economic growth of 'at least' 3.3% in 2011.

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