Lithuania in the news
2nd March, 2006
Lithuania Powering On Ahead
Pilies street in Vilnius Old Town
Lithuania’s economic progress continues to amaze financial institutions. Recently Lithuania managed to float a Eurobond issue for a 400 million Euros at a very favourable interest rate, a rate much better than Euro zone members Italy and Greece have been managing to do. This was the basis of much praise heaped on Lithuania by influential financial and business magazines, such as "The Financial Times", citing it as evidence that Lithuania is ready to introduce the Euro as
Modern Vilnius as seen from Gediminas Hill
planned in 2007. This would make Lithuania, together with Slovenia, probably the very first countries from the recently joined EU member states to introduce the Euro.
Lithuania’s GDP continues to grow at amazing rates. Last year it grew by 7.3%, exceeding the prediction of 6.8%. Lithuania’s economy has been powering ahead at similar rates for a number years now, reaching at one point an outstanding annual rate of 9.4% (in 2003). Lithuania is becoming an economic power house among the Baltic States, with its economy very nearly as big as those of the other two Baltic States, Latvia and Estonia, put together. Last year the exports increased by over 20%, with many Lithuanian goods acquiring an excellent international reputation. Among food products Lithuania’s cheese and beer are highly valued. In 2002 Lithuania was the fourth largest exporter of cheese to the USA! Lithuanian beer continually wins international prizes for quality. Inflation continues to be low - in January 2006 it was at 2.7% annual rate. Lat year the average wages increased by nearly 11%. In the area of modern technology usage Lithuania
The Europa Shopping Centre in Vilnius
Stikliai street in Vilnius Old Town
has just become first in the world in mobile phone usage ! There are now more mobile phones than people, with 1.39 active SIM cards per person.
In the 16 years since the reestablishment of Lithuania’s independence the changes that have occurred in Lithuania are nothing short of outstanding, with Lithuania confirming its place as a modern European state. There is an enormous building boom going on, both for private residences and commercial premises. Ultra modern shopping centres abound, with a range of goods bigger than in Australia. With Modern Vilnius arising on the right bank of the Neris River and with the beautiful baroque Old Town on the left bank, Vilnius is now living up to its tourist potential and is fast taking up its place as a favourite tourist destination. Vilnius has one of the largest Old Towns in all of Europe, which has been world heritage listed since 1994. There are now more than 3 million visitors coming to Lithuania annually, a number increasing rapidly, and the streets are full of tourists.

More information:    "Lietuvos Rytas" 9/2/06 , 20/2/06 , 22/2/06   "Financial Times" 3/2/06 , 16/2/06