Lithuania passes 2013 budget, eyeing eurozone entry

Lithuania's parliament passed next year's budget on Thursday, targeting a deficit within EU limits as the Baltic nation continues its drive to adopt the euro in 2015.

A total of 103 lawmakers backed the 2013 spending and revenue package, which aims to shave the public deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product from 3.0 percent this year.

Only two members of parliament voted against, and 28 abstained.

Under eurozone rules, countries must keep their public deficits below 3.0 percent of output and are supposed to achieve surpluses in times of growth.

While few nations in the 17-country currency bloc respect the 3.0-percent ceiling, internal EU controls are being tightened up, and the deficit is also a key hurdle for would-be members.

The 2013 budget foresees spending of 22.1 billion Lithuanian litas (6.4 billion euros, $8.48 billion), and revenues of 21.3 billion litas.

It largely sticks to a draft prepared by the country's former centre-right government, ousted by austerity-weary voters in October's general election.

Lithuania's new prime minister is the centre-left Social Democrat leader Algirdas Butkevicius, whose four-party coalition government was sworn in last week.

As the economy recovers from one of the deepest slumps in the world, Butkevicius has pledged to do more for those who bore the brunt of the previous government's cuts in social security and other public spending.

On the eve of the budget vote, his cabinet approved an increase in the monthly minimum wage from 850 litas to 1000 litas, saying it was crucial for the poorest residents of this nation of three million.

The move was fiercely criticised by his Conservative predecessor Andrius Kubilius, saying it would be a blow for small businesses.

Butkevicius, a former finance minister, has nonetheless said he would strive respect fiscal prudence, saying Lithuania must get its finances in shape in order to adopt the euro in 2015.

Governments on either side of the political line in Lithuania have said that despite the eurozone debt crisis, the former Soviet-ruled republic should be anchored in the same currency bloc as its key trade partners.

Lithuania, which joined the European Union in 2004, had hoped to adopt the euro in 2007.

It missed that target because it failed narrowly to meet inflation-control criteria, another measure for entry.

The goal was then put on hold after the country swung from breakneck growth into one of the world's deepest slumps.

While it has yet to recover to pre-crisis levels, Lithuania's economy is growing again, in contrast with the eurozone.

Its 2012 growth forecast is 3.5 percent, while the budget for next year is based on a rate of 3.0 percent, keeping the country near the top of the EU table.

Loading...
 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.2582+0.0001+0.01%
    USDSGD=X
    1.74020.000.00%
    EURSGD=X
    2.1139+0.00010.00%
    GBPSGD=X
    81.2995+0.0075+0.01%
    SGDJPY=X
    6.1622-0.0005-0.01%
    SGDHKD=X
    2.5982-0.0002-0.01%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,255.2900-0.7363-0.01%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9665-0.0004-0.01%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.1654+0.0001+0.01%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,293.70+3.10+0.24%
    GCM14.CMX
    19.68-0.01-0.04%
    SIK14.CMX
    91.62-1.25-1.35%
    ^XAU
    3.12-0.01-0.16%
    HGK14.CMX
    101.91+0.47+0.46%
    CLM14.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.74+0.03
    ^FVX
    2.690.00
    ^TNX
    3.460.00
    ^TYX

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.123+0.001+0.82%
    B22.SI
    0.15+0.008+5.63%
    545.SI
    0.635+0.040+6.72%
    5WH.SI
    0.615+0.005+0.82%
    E5H.SI
    1.355+0.005+0.37%
    G13.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    20.00+4.200+26.58%
    K6S.SI
    1.215+0.190+18.54%
    S53.SI
    0.415+0.045+12.16%
    570.SI
    1.345+0.130+10.70%
    5DA.SI
    0.154+0.014+10.00%
    5GD.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.053-0.059-52.68%
    5TF.SI
    1.62-0.520-24.30%
    N02.SI
    0.20-0.020-9.09%
    E94.SI
    0.179-0.013-6.77%
    567.SI
    0.30-0.020-6.25%
    508.SI