Latvia unlikely to join euro before 2011

Latvia will not be ready to adopt the euro before 2011 or 2012 given the country’s high level of inflation, Finance Minister Oskars Spurdzins said in an interview published here.

The only (euro membership) criterium we don’t fulfill is inflation. But bringing down inflation can’t be achieved that quickly. We won’t make it before 2011/2012, Spurdzins told the daily Der Standard.

Latvia had originally planned to adopt the single European currency next year, but was forced to postpone those plans in view of accelerating inflation.

In September, the cost of living in Latvia increased by 11.4 pct year-on-year, its fastest rate of inflation in more than 10 years.

In an attempt to rein in price pressures, the government recently launched a package of measures to dampen private consumption, including tighter loan policies.

Such measures would take time to bear fruit, Spurdzins said.

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