IMF estimates GDP growth rate in Lithuania at 5.9%

In an annual report IMF experts approved of the economic results achieved by Lithuania in 2002. The Central Bank of Lithuania reported that the experts estimated the rate of GDP growth at 5.9%, while exports grew by 10%. The amount of foreign debt decreased. The unemployment rate fell from 13% to 10.9%, although it is still the highest in the three Baltic countries.

The Central Bank also remarked on the fact that all commercial banks of the country had met the reliability criteria (there are 6 such criteria in Lithuania), and a successful decision to peg Lithuanian currency to the euro had had a positive effect on the current account deficit, since deals in US dollars make up just 30% of Lithuania's foreign trade volume.

The IMF expects Lithuania's GDP to grow by about 5% this year, since an increase in domestic consumption is likely to slow down, and the situation on foreign markets is not favorable for any rise in exports. The current account deficit is expected to reach 5.8% due to unfavorable external factors. However, it will begin to decrease in a year due to direct investments to be received from the EU. The IMF recommended that a fixed exchange rate of Lithuanian currency against the euro should be maintained, and the quality of liabilities dealing with credits should be carefully monitored.