Latvia Freight Transport Report 2016
BMI View: Latvia's freight industry will grow at a moderate pace over 2016, prompted by stable economic growth and an uptick in household consumption.
However, it is poised to feel the negative effects of the deterioration in trade relations between the EU and the Russian Federation.
While on aggregate sanctions put in place by the West have not significantly affected the EU's growth outlook, they have hit Latvia hard.
Russia is one of Latvia's largest trading partners, accounting for 10% of total exports, and the country also acts as a conduit for trade between the EU and Russia.
The economic outlook for Latvia remains stable over the short term, although weaker demand from Russia is dragging on the industrial sector.
We forecast real GDP growth will increase to 3.0% in 2016 from 2.8% in 2015.
Household confidence has continued to improve, and will likely keep rising over the coming quarters, mirroring positive developments in the labour market and steadily growing wages.
Registered cars also continued to rise, tallying with steady retail sales growth.
Taken together, the outlook for households remains one of gradual but robust improvement as the sector draws to the end of its deleveraging cycle and disposable incomes rise.
Low inflation (headline CPI contracted by 0.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) in September 2015) is also helping to bolster household purchasing power, although consumer price growth will begin to pick up at the start of 2016 as base effects from low oil decline.
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