The Baltic Course | Baltic States news & analytics http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/ The Baltic Course - International Internet Magazine. Baltic States News & Analysis, Baltic market reviews eng Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:50:05 +0200 Baltic Course, The baltic-course@baltic-course.com dmitrijs@mansbirojs.lv Latgale Special Economic Zone included in the list of free zones http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145838 The government on Tuesday amended the Cabinet of Ministers regulations on free economic zone, including Latgale Special Economic Zone in this list. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 22:00:00 +0200 1544558400 Latvian ports handle 5.9% more cargo in January-November http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145836 Latvian ports handled 60.5 mln tons of cargo in January-November - a 5.9% increase on the same period last year, according to the Transport Ministry's data. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 21:00:00 +0200 1544554800 Freight shipping by rail in Latvia up 12.1% in January-November http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145837 In the first 11 months of this year, freight shipping by rail in Latvia increased by 12.1% year-on-year to 44.824 mln tons, according to the data released by the Transport Ministry. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 21:00:00 +0200 1544554800 Lithuanian insurance market: lower prices and higher consumer protection http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145834 In the third quarter of 2018, prices of compulsory motor third party liability insurance scaled down, while the entire insurance market grew by 13%. Having come into force in October, significant amendments have strengthened consumer protection within the insurance market. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:30:00 +0200 1544553000 Latvian insurance market may grow 7%-12% next year - association http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145822 Latvia's insurance market could grow 7% to 12% next year, mostly because the national economy is also expected to keep growing next year, Latvian Insurers Association's President Janis Abasins told LETA on Tuesday. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:10:00 +0200 1544551800 Inflation has passed its peak http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145833 Consumer price inflation in Estonia in November was 3.4%. It hit a peak of 4.4% in October and has shown signs of coming down over several months. The rate of inflation fell primarily because crude oil prices fell on global markets, which meant that the rate of rise in prices for motor fuels came down over the month from 20% to 9%. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:00:00 +0200 1544551200 Financial watchdog allows Musu Investiciju Fonds to announce mandatory takeover bid of Brivais Vilnis shares http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145821 The Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) on December 7 decided to allow Brivais Vilnis fish cannery shareholder Musu Investiciju Fonds to announce the mandatory takeover bid of Brivais Vilnis shares, the company said in its statement to the Nasdaq Riga stock exchange. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:50:00 +0200 1544550600 Two municipalities in the Stockholm region sell land to Microsoft http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/Technology/?doc=145819 The two municipalities Gävle and Sandviken in the Stockholm region have decided to sell a total of 130 hectares of land to Microsoft for SEK 269 million, thereby creating conditions for a major international investment, Invest Stockholm informed BC. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:40:00 +0200 1544550000 EuroSpike qualifies in Estonia's antitank weapons procurement http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145820 The weapons manufacturer EuroSpike GmBH has qualified as a tenderer in a tender to supply long-range antitank systems to the Estonian defense forces, as it has submitted the application necessary for participation in the tender along with necessary documents, reported LETA/BNS. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0200 1544547600 Remigration pilot project has brought 330 people back to Latvia http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145816 A remigration pilot project launched by the government has so far brought 330 people back to Latvia, Dainis Rijkuris, an adviser to the environment protection and regional development minister, said at the conference “To Leave or to Return to Latvia: Zemgale”, reffered LETA. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:10:00 +0200 1544533800 In October foreign trade turnover in goods in Latvia was 13.3% larger than last year http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145815 Provisional data of the Central Statistical Bureau show that in October 2018 the foreign trade turnover of Latvia amounted to EUR 2.66 bn, which at current prices was 13.3% more than in October 2017, of which the exports value of goods was 6.8 % and imports value of goods was 18.8% higher. In October, Latvia exported goods in the amount of EUR 1.16 bn, but imported in the amount of EUR 1.50 bn. Compared to October 2017, foreign trade balance has worsened as exports in total foreign trade amount decreased from 46.2% to 43.6%. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:00:00 +0200 1544533200 Negative trade balance has led to the largest quarterly current account deficit seen over the past years http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145813 Following a build-up of the current account surplus driven by robust expansion of exports in the first half of the year, the trade balance shifted downside sharply in the third quarter. It was the deficit of the balance of trade in goods that was at fault. The above deficit grew rapidly and reached a high since the end of 2013. Overall, the current account deficit amounted to 444.4 million euro or 5.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2018. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:20:00 +0200 1544530800 Estonia: PRFoods, Tallinna Lihatoostus to develop joint offshore fish farm http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145807 Saaremere Kala AS, a subsidiary of the listed fish products seller PRFoods, and meatpacker OU Tallinna Lihatoostus have concluded a letter of intent for establishing a joint undertaking to set up a joint offshore fish farm, reports LETA/BNS. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:20:00 +0200 1544523600 Foreign trade in goods in October 2018 http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145805 Statistics Lithuania informs that, based on non-final data obtained from customs declarations, Intrastat reporting and VAT returns data, exports in October 2018 amounted to EUR 2.71 billion, imports – EUR 3.05 billion. Exports of goods of Lithuanian origin amounted to EUR 1.65 billion. The foreign trade deficit of Lithuania amounted to EUR 0.33 billion. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:45:00 +0200 1544521500 European regional policy: effects for the Baltic States http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/modern_eu/?doc=145806 Several EU funds assist structural reforms and progressive regional development in the Baltic States. The EU’s strategy aims at making European regions actively participating in nation growth. However, historic administrative and territorial divisions often do not cope with the modern digital societies and “smart specialization” trends. Hence, political decisions concerning regional policies have to be both optimal and progressive. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:45:00 +0200 1544521500 Over a year, labour costs per hour worked in Lithuania increased by 10.7% http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145804 Statistics Lithuania informs that in III quarter 2018, against the same quarter of 2017, labour costs per hour worked in industrial, construction and service enterprises (individual enterprises included), calendar adjusted, increased by 10.7%, of which in business enterprises – 10.3%. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1544518800 Latvian consumer prices down 0.1% in November http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145803 The latest data of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that in November 2018, compared to November 2017, the average level of consumer prices* rose by 3.0%. Prices of both goods and services grew by 3.0% Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:10:00 +0200 1544515800 Christmas market in Tallinn elected best in Europe http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145798 Over the course of the last 10 days, more than 200,000 passengers voted to determine the nicest Christmas market in Europe and the Christmas market on Tallinn's Town Hall Square was overwhelmingly voted as the best, reported LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 20:00:00 +0200 1544464800 In October, trade was at a record level in Estonia http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145794 According to Statistics Estonia, in October 2018, the exports of goods increased by 17% and imports by 20% compared to October 2017. For the first time, exports exceeded 1.3 bln euros and imports 1.5 bln euros. The growth in trade was affected the most by an increase in trade in mineral products (solvent, fuel additives, motor spirit, shale oil). Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:50:00 +0200 1544464200 RB Rail announces procurement for design of Tallinn-Rapla railway section http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=145802 The joint venture of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, RB Rail AS, has announced a procurement for the design and design supervision services for the second stage of the Rail Baltic railway line in Estonia from Tallinn to Rapla, reported LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:40:00 +0200 1544463600 Baltic states, Finland undecided on changing of clocks at meeting in Tallinn http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=145801 Representatives of the transport ministries of the Baltic states, Finland and Poland, who met in Tallinn on Monday, were of differing opinions when it comes to whether the countries should stay in summer or winter time once the practice of adjusting the clocks twice a year ends, reported LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:20:00 +0200 1544462400 Estonian chamber: Entrepreneurs' assessment re ratio of cash-in-hand wages has decreased http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145799 Estonian entrepreneurs' estimation of the share of cash-in-hand wages paid in their sector has decreased on year, it appears from the results of a survey conducted among the members of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reported LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:20:00 +0200 1544462400 President to withdraw Gobzems' nomination for PM http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_states/?doc=145800 President Raimonds Vejonis will withdraw Aldis Gobzems’ (KPV LV) nomination for prime minister. After a meeting with Gobzems on Monday, Vejonis told journalists that he would issue a decree to withdraw the nomination and start consultations with political parties, reported LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:20:00 +0200 1544462400 SDGs & me: Life on land http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145795 In an EU context, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 'Life on land' focuses on progress made in improving the status of ecosystems, in decelerating land degradation and in preserving biodiversity, noted Eurostat. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 19:10:00 +0200 1544461800 Seizing the potential of climate solutions – and making the Baltics leaders in green economy http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145792 As the most important UN climate conference COP24 since the historic Paris meeting is being held in Katowice, Poland, it is also time for the Baltics to think about delivering on the Paris Agreement’s promises. A recent study by SEI Tallinn and the Finnish innovation fund Sitra reveals that the Baltics have great potential in doing so. The key is scaling up Nordic solutions that have already proved their effectiveness. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 18:50:00 +0200 1544460600 Freeport of Ventspils has decided to increase on average by 8% port fees and service fees http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=145791 For the purpose of partial compensation for the costs caused by the inflation, the Board of the Freeport of Ventspils has decided to increase on average by 8% port fees and service fees at the Port of Ventspils, informed Freeport of Ventspils Authority. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 18:20:00 +0200 1544458800 Turnover of Latvian State Forests up 16.5% in first nine months http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145778 Turnover of Latvijas Valsts Mezi (LVM) state forest manager in the first nine months of this year was EUR 241.273 mln, up 16.5 % from the respective period last year, while the company’s profit increased by 70.2% to EUR 84.630 mln, according to the company’s report writes LETA. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 11:50:00 +0200 1544435400 Estonia announces new EUR 25 mln procurement for island air services http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145779 The Estonian Road Administration has announced a new public procurement for finding a carrier for regular flights on the Tallinn-Kuressaare and Tallinn-Kardla routes, the estimated value of the contract to be concluded for five years is 25.5 mln euros, reported LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 11:50:00 +0200 1544435400 Poland's Itaka to fly tourists from Lithuania's Kaunas http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145777 Polish tour operator Itaka, which entered the Lithuanian market earlier this year, is expanding its operations and will offer trips from Lithuania's second-largest city of Kaunas from the upcoming spring as well, informed LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 11:40:00 +0200 1544434800 Omniva installed 200 new parcel machines in Baltics in 2018 http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145775 Within the next few days, the Estonian postal service and logistics company Omniva is about to complete the installation of the last of the 200 new parcel terminals it is planning to install in the Baltic countries this year, informed LETA/BNS. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1544432400 Turnover of Lielzeltini poultry farm fell 9.3% last FY http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145776 Latvia’s Lielzeltini poultry farm turned over EUR 33.642 mln last fiscal year, which lasted from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, down 9.3% from a year ago, while the company’s profit shrank 82% to EUR 182,950, according to information available at Firmas.lv writes LETA. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1544432400 Non-bank lenders in Latvia issue loans worth EUR 309.04 mln in H1 http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145773 Non-bank lenders issued loans worth EUR 309.04 mln in January-June this year, which is 10.1% more than in the first half of 2017, the Consumer Rights Protection Center's representative Santa Zarane informed LETA. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:40:00 +0200 1544431200 President of LDz was appointed the First Vice President of the UIC European Regional Assembly. http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=145774 The President of VAS /SJSC/ “Latvijas dzelzceļš”, Edvīns Bērziņš, was appointed the First Vice President of the European Regional Assembly of the International Union of Railways (UIC), :DZ representative informed BC. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:40:00 +0200 1544431200 Let’s Talk About Corruption http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145771 Latvia and the United States have been close friends and partners for 100 years. We stood by the Latvian people throughout the darkest hours of the Soviet occupation. Today, we celebrate with you all you have accomplished. At your Centennial, you stand as a proud, strong, and valued partner in NATO, the EU, and the OECD. But friendship means more than recognizing what you have overcome. True friends challenge and push each other to become the best possible version of themselves. Mon, 10 Dec 2018 09:50:00 +0200 1544428200 European security: an urgent issue for the EU and the Baltics (part I) http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/modern_eu/?doc=145751 The European Commission organised a media seminar on the “security research”, with a view of a deeper understanding of the complex security issues. The theme is of vital importance at present tense time for both Europeans and the Baltics’ sub-region in line with EU’s priorities of making Europe a safe place and enhancing regional security. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 22:20:00 +0200 1544214000 Classical conductor Andris Nelsons gets two Grammy nominations http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145765 For a third consecutive year, Latvian classical conductor Andris Nelsons is among artists nominated for Grammy Awards, the list of 2019 Grammy nominations shows, informed LETA/BNS. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 21:00:00 +0200 1544209200 The goods deficit widens as export growth slows http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145764 Estonian exports of goods and services have grown more slowly in the first nine months of 2018 than in 2017, and imports have grown faster. Exports may have grown more slowly not only because growth in foreign demand has stalled, but also because price competitiveness and domestic economic activity have declined. The surplus on the current account in the first nine months of 2018 was 0.7% of GDP, which is notably less than the 2.8% recorded in the same months of 2017. The current account surplus has fallen because of the deepening trade deficit, which was 985.2 million euros in the first nine months of the year, or a third larger than it was a year earlier. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 20:40:00 +0200 1544208000 Bank of Lithuania survey: an extra 400 EUR would make life easier http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145763 The latest Survey of Households commissioned by the Bank of Lithuania revealed that, despite their improving financial health, a large number of families would still like to earn at least 400 EUR more to be satisfied with their living conditions in Lithuania. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 20:20:00 +0200 1544206800 First time registration of passenger cars in Latvia up 0.2% in 11 months http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145761 The first-time registration of passenger cars picked up 0.2% y-o-y in the first 11 months of this year, as 62,650 cars were registered for the first time in Latvia during that period, according to the information from the Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) reports LETA. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 20:00:00 +0200 1544205600 Radical pro-Russia activist Girss acquitted of incitement to ethnic hatred http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/legislation/?doc=145754 The Kurzeme district court in Liepaja on Friday found Illarions Girss, the former leader of Russkaya Zarya (Russian Dawn) pro-Russia group in Latvia, not guilty of inciting ethnic hatred, the court’s representative Velga Luka told LETA. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 19:50:00 +0200 1544205000 Insolvency claim filed against operator of DIY chain K Senukai http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/legislation/?doc=145762 An insolvency lawsuit against Kesko Senukai Latvia, the operator of K Senukai DIY retail chain, has been filed with Riga City Pardaugava District Court, according to information available on the website of the Insolvency Control Service informed LETA/BNS. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 19:20:00 +0200 1544203200 Estonian Merko starts construction of apartment house complex in Riga http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145756 SIA Merks, Latvian subsidiary of the listed Estonian builder AS Merko Ehitus, has started the construction of the second stage of the Gailezera nami residential project in Riga, Merko tolds stock exchange. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 19:10:00 +0200 1544202600 Latvian architects bureau NRJA wins TabFab Creative Quarter sketch design competition http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/real_estate/?doc=145755 The first-prize winner in the sketch design competition “The Architectural Vision for Complete Development of the TabFab Creative Quarter and an invitation to participate in negotiation procedure on development of the construction design and author’s supervision is Latvian architects office NRJA, Culture Minister Dace Melbarde (National Alliance) announced LETA on Friday. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0200 1544202000 Estonian power co: Electricity prices rose as expected in November http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=145766 The price of electricity rose in line with expectations and as a result of colder weather in November in Estonia, Finland and Latvia alike, whereas in Lithuania the price moved lower, the state-owned power generating and power distribution group Eesti Energia said on Friday. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0200 1544202000 Latvia's BAN non-life insurer reports EUR 57,200 in nine-month profit http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145753 Latvian non-life insurer Baltijas Apdrosinasanas Nams (BAN) made EUR 57,212 in profit in the first nine months of this year in contrast to loss in the respective period last year, according to information released by the company writes LETA. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 18:50:00 +0200 1544201400 Estonian Railways to add rail cars, departures on Russia route for holiday season http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145738 Due to the expected rise in passenger numbers during the period of year-end holidays, Estonian Railways will add rail cars to the train service between Estonia and Russia and increase the number of departures, informed LETA/BNS. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:20:00 +0200 1544174400 Estonia's Autolevi raises EUR 225,000 on Funderbeam to expand business in Finland http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145740 The Estonian peer-to-peer car rental service Autolevi has raised 225,000 euros via the crowdfunding platform Funderbeam, which it is about to use to expand operations in Finland, informed LETA/BNS. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:20:00 +0200 1544174400 Estonia's Tartu raises land tax rate http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145739 The council of Tartu on Thursday voted to raise the land tax rate in the city to 2 % of the taxable value of land starting from 2019, reported LETA/BNS. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:10:00 +0200 1544173800 Lithuania's GetJet Airlines to use decades-old aircraft to fly Novaturas, Tez Tour clients http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/tourism/?doc=145736 The average age of seven aircraft used by GetJet Airlines, a Vilnius-based air carrier that will fly customers of Lithuania's two biggest tour operators, Novaturas and Tez Tour, is 24 years and 9 months, which is a concern by modern aviation standards, according the daily Lietuvos Rytas reported LETA/BNS. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0200 1544170800 Pasazieru Vilciens rail passenger carrier posts EUR 793,400 in nine-month profit http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145737 Latvia’s Pasazieru Vilciens rail passenger carrier closed the first nine months of this year with a EUR 52.272 mln in sales, up 5.7% from the respective period last year, while the company’s profit declined 0.3% to EUR 793,431, according to the company’s report writes LETA. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0200 1544170800 Latvia's BAN non-life insurer reports EUR 57,200 in nine-month profit http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145735 Latvian non-life insurer Baltijas Apdrosinasanas Nams (BAN) made EUR 57,212 in profit in the first nine months of this year in contrast to loss in the respective period last year, according to information released by the company writes LETA. Fri, 07 Dec 2018 09:20:00 +0200 1544167200 Lithuanian parlt ups child benefit to EUR 50 http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145731 The child benefit will go up from 30 to 50 euros from next year in Lithuania, the country's parliament decided on Thursday, informed LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 18:50:00 +0200 1544115000 Lithuanian and Estonian subsidiaries of Latvia’s Capitalia non-bank lender merged with parent http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145733 Capitalia non-bank lender has concluded a reorganization by merging its Lithuanian and Estonian subsidiaries with the Latvian parent company and becoming a European company (societas Europaea) with a head office in Latvia, LETA was told at the company. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 18:50:00 +0200 1544115000 The element of surprise has vanished, but growth is still present http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145734 Emotions of surprise stirred by the release of the flash estimate of gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of 2018 have already subsided, but the detailed third quarter data published by the Central Statistical Bureau confirm that Latvia's economy has experienced rapid growth. At the same time, however, the question concerning the sustainability of the factors underpinning this growth remains relevant. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 18:50:00 +0200 1544115000 Estonia: East Capital is no longer shareholder of Baltika http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145730 Following a transaction executed on Nov. 30, East Capital Asset Management S.A is no longer a shareholder of Baltika, the listed Estonian garment seller announced on Thursday, referred LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 18:20:00 +0200 1544113200 Nordic business consultancy Miltton buys 95 pct of Estonian PR company JLP http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145729 he group of Nordic business consultancies Miltton Group has acquired 95% of the shares in the Estonian communication consultancy JLP, reported LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 18:10:00 +0200 1544112600 Estonian IT company Net Group to create digital platform for Tanzanian courts http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145728 The Estonian business and software development company Net Group is developing a digital platform for courts in Tanzania on commission from the Tanzanian Ministry of Justice, following the implementation of which the work of the Tanzanian judiciary should become more effective and transparent, reported LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 17:20:00 +0200 1544109600 In October, more tourists stayed in accommodation establishments in Estonia than a year ago http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145727 According to Statistics Estonia, in October 2018, domestic and foreign tourists who stayed in accommodation establishments numbered 274,000, which is 1% more than in October 2017. Compared to October of the previous year, the number of domestic tourists increased and the number of foreign tourists decreased. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:40:00 +0200 1544107200 Denmark is important Latvia’s partner in defense and regional security – Vejonis http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_states/?doc=145726 Denmark is important Latvia’s partneri n defense and regional security, said Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis during the official visit of Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary to Latvia. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:30:00 +0200 1544106600 Volume of retail trade up by 0.3% in euro area in October 2018 http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145724 In October 2018 compared with September 2018, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased by 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.1% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In September, the retail trade volume decreased by 0.5% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU28. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:20:00 +0200 1544106000 Oman airports interested in investing in Lithuania http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145725 Oman airports are interested in investing in Lithuania's aviation sector, according the 15min news website reported LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:20:00 +0200 1544106000 70% of motorists in Latvia use cellphones while driving - survey http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145723 More than 70% of motorists in Latvia use cellphones while driving on a regular basis, spokespeople for the Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) informed LETA. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:00:00 +0200 1544104800 Latvian Building Company BMGS Prepared to Sue Scandinavian Construction Giant Veidekke Over Unpaid Bills http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/legislation/?doc=145721 One of Latvia's leading construction companies, AS BMGS, is preparing to sue the Scandinavian construction giant Veidekke Entreprenad AB (subsidiary f the Veidekke company in Norway) to recover a substantial sum of money for work that was done in Sweden. The issued bills have not been paid for more than a year, AS BMGS CEO Svetlana Afanasjeva informed BC. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 14:10:00 +0200 1544098200 Lithuanian president submits urgent teacher pay amendments http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/education/?doc=145732 Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has submitted, as a matter of urgency, amendments to the recently introduced pay system for teachers, aimed at facilitating the implementation of the new model, the presidential office said. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 12:00:00 +0200 1544090400 Benin Republic to develop data exchange platform based on Estonian model http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145712 On December 5th, e-Governance Academy and National Information Systems and Services Agency (ASSI) of Benin Republic signed an agreement to design and implement the governmental interoperability framework for enhancing secure data exchange between government authorities and developing e-services for the citizens of Benin. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 11:20:00 +0200 1544088000 How much are households spending on food? http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145710 In 2017, households in the European Union (EU) spent 12.2 % of their total consumption expenditure on 'food and non-alcoholic beverages', informed Eurostat. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1544086800 Number of flights handled by Latvian air traffic controller LGS up 8.8% in 11 months http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145708 Latvian air traffic controller Latvijas Gaisa Satiksme (LGS), which is responsible for managing air traffic in Latvia, handled 270,821 flights in the first 11 months of 2018, which is a growth by 8.8% against the same period in 2017, the company said LETA. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 10:40:00 +0200 1544085600 Estonia to support churches from state budget instead of reserve fund http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145709 Minister of Public Administration Janek Maggi on Thursday is to make a proposal to the Estonian government to declare invalid the government's orders to allocate support to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAOK) from the Ownership Reform Reserve Fund as the money will be allocated to the churches straight from the state budget, reported LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 10:40:00 +0200 1544085600 Baltics retailer Apranga ties revenue growth plans to investment in chain development http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145707 MG Baltic-controlled Apranga, the biggest clothing retail group in the Baltics, ties next year's revenue growth plans to investment in the renewal and development of its chain, its chief executive officer said LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 10:10:00 +0200 1544083800 Estonian Railways Q3 freight carriage grows 5.8% on year http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145705 Freight shipment by rail in Estonia amounted to 6.6 mln tons in the third quarter of 2018, 5.8 % more than during the same period in 2017, figures available from Statistics Estonia show LETA/BNS. Thu, 06 Dec 2018 10:00:00 +0200 1544083200 BaltCap setting up EUR 100 mln fund for investments in Baltic, Nordic region http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145696 BaltCap, the largest private capital fund manager in the Baltic states, and Japan's fund manager JBIC IG Partners are setting up a new 100-mln-euro fund for investments in deep tech firms in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0200 1544029200 Competitive bids auction of Latvian five-year government bonds raises EUR 16 mln http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145695 A competitive bids multi-price auction today sold EUR 16 mln worth of five-year Latvian government bonds, the Nasdaq Riga stock exchange said. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:50:00 +0200 1544028600 Faster growth in the Estonian economy is an exception in the wider perspective http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145693 Statistics Estonia estimates that the economy grew by 4.2% in the third quarter over the year. This was a little faster than in the second quarter when the growth was 3.8%. The faster growth in the third quarter was an exception in the wider perspective as various indicators for growth in economic activity weakened in the third quarter in Estonia and elsewhere. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:20:00 +0200 1544026800 Wage growth in Latvia still solid http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=145694 The current tightening of the labour market with unemployment shrinking and persistently high labour demand observed in Latvia is nothing unique. Something similar can be seen in other Baltic States as well as elsewhere in Europe. Over the third quarter of 2018, gross nominal wage increased by 8.0% year-on-year in Latvia, amounting to 1006 euro. Although the quarterly rate may seem very modest at 0.2% or 2 euro, we have to bear in mind that the growth rate of base wages continues to be relatively stronger; hence, this overall increase can be viewed as stable. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:20:00 +0200 1544026800 Affordable Housing - a Limited Resource in Europe's Cities: City of Vienna Highlights Ways out of the Crisis http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/forums/?doc=145692 What can be done to mitigate the current housing crisis in Europe's growing cities? How can investment in affordable housing be made to increase once more? Ways out of this tight situation are highlighted by the international conference "Housing for All - Affordable Housing in Growing Cities in Europe" held on 4 and 5 December in Vienna. The premises of Wiener Wohnen are set to host roughly 300 participants from 36 countries. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:10:00 +0200 1544026200 airBaltic to transfer 2 new Airbus planes to Tallinn Airport http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145689 The Latvian airline airBaltic will transfer two of its new Airbus A220 aircraft to its base in Tallinn next year to better service its growing network of air transport. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:55:00 +0200 1544025300 Estonia posts additional visa officials in Moscow, St. Petersburg for run-up to holidays http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_states_cis/?doc=145690 The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has temporarily posted two additional visa officials to the country's missions in Russia to help cope with increased workload during the run-up to the year-end holiday, reported LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:55:00 +0200 1544025300 Estonian port co to offer discount to environmentally sustainable ships http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145691 Starting from next year, the listed Estonian port company Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn) is to give an option to apply for discount on tonnage fees of up to 8% to ships that have joined the Environmental Ship Index (ESI). Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:55:00 +0200 1544025300 Advertising volumes in Lithuania up 12.6 – Kantar TNS http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145687 General advertising volumes grew 12.6% in the first ten months of this year, according to research company Kantar TNS writes LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:25:00 +0200 1544023500 Every tenth entrepreneur in Latvia would be prepared to deliberately distort competition in order to make higher profit - Competition Council http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145688 - Every tenth entrepreneur in Latvia would be prepared to deliberately distort competition in order to make higher profits, according to a survey carried out by the Competition Council, reports LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:25:00 +0200 1544023500 Eesti Gaas to open 3 compressed natural gas stations http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145686 Estonian electricity and gas seller Eesti Gaas will open compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in the towns of Viljandi and Rakvere this week, and in the near future also in Johvi, where in addition to CNG also bio-methane is sold, inforned LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 17:00:00 +0200 1544022000 Estonia: SEB increases low-risk positions in anticipation of stock market decline http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145684 SEB anticipates an increase in volatility on the financial markets due to deceleration of economic growth and has thus increased the share of low-risk assets in its portfolios, reproted LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:20:00 +0200 1544012400 Estonian tax authority, Airbnb sign agreement on voluntary submissions http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/real_estate/?doc=145685 The Estonian Tax and Customs Board and peer-to-peer accommodation rental portal Airbnb signed on Wednesday an agreement according to which the latter will enable for its lessors to forward their income through the platform to the tax authority on a voluntary basis, after which, the information will be added to the lessor's annual digital tax returns, reports LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:20:00 +0200 1544012400 Smart Energy Fund together with the partners is investing in Sterblue http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145683 Smart Energy Fund powered by Lietuvos Energija, managed by Contrarian Ventures is investing in French and US start-up Sterblue which develops software for non-pilot aircraft (drones) allowing inspecting power lines and wind turbines without human intervention, Lietuvos energija representative informed BC. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:10:00 +0200 1544011800 Estonia's electricity price 5% higher than in Finland in November http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=145672 The price of electricity grew in almost all price areas of Nord Pool in November, the average price of electricity per megawatt-hour in Estonia exceeded that in Finland by 2.54 euros, or 5%, reportes LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 11:10:00 +0200 1544001000 Vilnius’ Christmas Tree Starts the Countdown to Christmas http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/tourism/?doc=145671 Anticipation was high leading up to the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at Vilnius’ Cathedral Square this evening. Lithuania’s capital has received a lot of global attention over the years for its unique and stunning Christmas Trees, and this year’s creation, which looks like a giant clock from above, certainly did not disappoint, promise Go Vilnius representative. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1544000400 Estonian Entrepreneurs Launch One-Million-Euro Education Fund http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145670 Estonian Entrepreneurs launch a philanthropy fund called The Good Deed Education Fund. The fund’s goal is to provide seed capital for innovative initiatives in Estonian education. Over the next three years, the fund plans to contribute 1 million euros to impactful educational initiatives, Fund representative informed BC. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0200 1543998000 HCL Technologies plans expansion in Nordic countries http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145669 HCL Technologies, a multinational technology company which has been working with British bank Barclays for past four years, plans to expand its operations in the Nordic and other European countries, Rahul Singh, president of financial services sales at HCL Technologies, says after Barclays announced its plans on Tuesday to close its operation center in Vilnius and move 460 jobs to HCL Technologies, citing LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 10:00:00 +0200 1543996800 The quantity of pesticides sold in Estonia decreased by one-sixth last year http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145667 According to Statistics Estonia, 706 tonnes of pesticides (by active substance) were placed on the market in 2017 in Estonia, which is 15% less than the year before. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 09:20:00 +0200 1543994400 LNG bunker supply vessel Kairos, meant for Lithuania's Klaipedos Nafta, reaches Europe http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=145668 Kairos, the world's largest LNG bunker supply vessel, meant for Klaipedos Nafta, the operator of the LNG terminal in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, has reached Europe, the Lithuanian company said LETA/BNS. Wed, 05 Dec 2018 09:20:00 +0200 1543994400 In October, industrial production output in Latvia fell by 1.9% http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/analytics/?doc=145666 Data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that, compared to October 2017, in October 2018 industrial production output1 reduced by 1.9 % (according to calendar adjusted data at constant prices). The decline was caused by the output reduction in electricity and gas supply (of 17.7%), however rise was recorded in manufacturing (of 3.3%) and mining and quarrying (of 6.3 %). Wed, 05 Dec 2018 09:00:00 +0200 1543993200 Estonia chooses offer by Lewis Machine & Tool Company as winner of gun tender http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/markets_and_companies/?doc=145665 – Estonia has chosen an offer by Lewis Machine & Tool Company as the winner of the tender for a contract to supply automatic firearms to the country's defense forces and other armed structures, informed LETA/BNS. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 20:50:00 +0200 1543949400 Merko Statyba to build police commissariat in Lithuania's Kaunas for EUR 29 mln http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145663 Estonian-capital construction company Merko Statyba will build the new building of Kaunas County Chief Police Commissariat after winning the construction tender, according to the documents LETA/BNS has obtained. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 19:40:00 +0200 1543945200 Lithuania reaches agreement on truck return, transmin says http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145664 The EU Transport Council agreed on key provisions of the Mobility Package on Monday and Lithuania managed to secure a provision that empty trucks won’t have to return to their country of origin, Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis says LETA/BNS. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 19:40:00 +0200 1543945200 Lithuanian posts Baltics' largest w/w increase in power generation - Elektrum Lietuva http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=145662 Lithuania last week registered the largest increase in power generation among the three Baltic countries, but its electricity market price was the highest in the region, Elektrum Lietuva said LETA/BNS on Tuesday. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 19:20:00 +0200 1543944000 Riigikogu rejects proposal to switch to teaching in Estonian only http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/education/?doc=145661 The Riigikogu on Tuesday rejected a draft resolution submitted by the opposition Reform Party group by which the parliament would have tasked the government with preparing plans for a transition to the provision of education in the Estonian language alone in Estonia, informed LETA/BNS. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0200 1543942800 Rapid increase in the timber volume handled by the Port of Riga http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145652 This year the Port of Riga has experienced a significant increase of timber cargo, which has become the second largest group of cargo in terms of volume. During the first ten months of this year the port has handled a total of 4.4 mln tonnes of various types of timber cargo, one third more than in the previous year, informed Port of Riga representative. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 14:50:00 +0200 1543927800 Politico: Estonia's Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar among 28 people shaping Europe in 2019 http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145639 The international political publication Politico has named Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, first ever special envoy of Estonia on cyber security, as one among 28 people to be shaping, shaking and stirring Europe in 2019, reported LETA/BNS. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 11:20:00 +0200 1543915200 Barclays set to close its operations center in Lithuania, to lay off over 400 people http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=145636 British bank Barclays is closing its operations center in Lithuania, with plans to transfer around 460 jobs to HCL Technologies, a multinational technology company present in Vilnius since 2016, informed LETA/BNS. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1543914000 NIB loans EUR 50 mln to help finance Lidl's expansion in Lithuania http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=145637 The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Lidl Lietuva have signed a ten-year, 50-million-euro loan agreement to finance the German-owned grocery chain's expansion in Lithuania in 2017–2019. Tue, 04 Dec 2018 11:00:00 +0200 1543914000