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The name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 28% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.


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Economy

Economy - overview
Latvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing significantly to its GDP. Due to its geographical location, transit services are highly-developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and electronic devices. Export growth contributed to the economic recovery, however the bulk of the country's economic activity is in the services sector. Corruption continues to be an impediment to attracting foreign direct investment and Latvia''s low birth rate and decreasing population are major challenges to its long-term economic vitality. Latvia''s economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07, but entered a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the softening world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second largest bank, GDP plunged 18% in 2009. A rebound in the export sector contributed to the economy''s first real quarterly GDP growth in over two years (2.9%) in the third quarter of 2010. The IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency''s peg to the euro in exchange for the government''s commitment to stringent austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011. The government of Prime Minister Valdis DOMBROVSKIS reduced the fiscal deficit to 7.7% of GDP in 2010, and to 4% of GDP in 2011. Riga plans to reduce the budget deficit to less than 3% of GDP in 2012 in order to meet its goal of joining the euro zone in 2014. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises, including 99.8% ownership of the Latvian national airline. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February, 1999 and the EU in May 2004.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 106
$35.37 billion (2011 est.)
$33.54 billion (2010 est.)
$33.65 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$28.25 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 58
5.5% (2011 est.)
-0.3% (2010 est.)
-17.7% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 75
$15,900 (2011 est.)
$14,900 (2010 est.)
$14,900 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 4%
Industry 21.7%
Services 74.3% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 139
1.169 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 8.8%
Industry 24%
Services 67.2% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 153
15.4% (2011 est.)
18.4% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 2.7%
Highest 10% 27.6% (2008)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 87
35.2 (2010)
32 (1999)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 63
22.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget
Revenues $9.982 billion
Expenditures $11.11 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 66
35.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 132
-4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 66
44.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
44.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
Note
Data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 108
4.4% (2011 est.)
-1.1% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 95
3.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
3.5% (31 December 2010 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 100
6.39% (31 December 2011 est.)
9.56% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 85
$8.009 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$7.186 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 97
$12.24 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$12.28 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 73
$27.15 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$26.03 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 105
$1.076 billion (31 December 2011)
$1.252 billion (31 December 2010)
$1.824 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Grain, rapeseed, potatoes, vegetables; pork, poultry, milk, eggs; fish

Industries
Processed foods, processed wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers, electronics

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 19
9% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 121
3.569 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 106
6.215 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports
3.1 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports
3.973 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 188
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 116
29,880 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 103
5,160 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 96
33,730 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 151
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 202
0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 94
620.1 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 130
0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 57
1.125 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 96
-$363 million (2011 est.)
$731 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 86
$12.03 billion (2011 est.)
$9.107 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Food products, wood and wood products, metals, machinery and equipment, textiles

Exports - partners
Russia 17.7%, Lithuania 16.5%, Estonia 12.9%, Germany 7.9%, Sweden 5.6%, Poland 5.5% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 85
$14.83 billion (2011 est.)
$10.8 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles

Imports - partners
Lithuania 17.8%, Germany 11.8%, Russia 8.4%, Poland 7.5%, Estonia 7.1%, Finland 4.5%, Italy 4.3% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 83
$6.383 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$7.606 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 64
$38.37 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$39.56 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 78
$13.56 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$12 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 74
$1.108 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.017 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Lati (LVL) per US dollar -
0.5012 (2011 est.)
0.5305 (2010 est.)
0.5056 (2009)
0.4701 (2008)
0.5162 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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  Latvia (Riga):


  GPS points from Latvia (Riga)

Greilu Dikis Limbazu Rajons

Audini Kraslavas Rajons

Krastini Talsu Rajons

Auzini Ventspils Rajons

Jurenski Aluksnes Rajons

Ziyemeli Dobeles Rajons

Krimulda Krimuldas Novads

Kudra Engures Novads




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