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Industrial output fell 9.2% in April

April was the cruelest month during the Covid-19 crisis, and for the economy too, according to newest data on Latvia's industrial production.

Data by the Central Statistics Bureau say that industrial production fell 9.2% on year in April, with many companies furloughed, demand falling and both exports and raw material imports falling due to border lockdowns.

However, according to Luminor economist Pēteris Strautiņš, this result is somewhat better than expected. Even though it's unclear whether this is the lowest point in manufacture, the time of greatest pessimism is through.

Falling output has been recorded across many industries, however. Manufacture of wood and of products of wood fell 4.3%, which will leave a big dent, while food manufacture fell 7.7% and metal manufacture fell 6.3%

Not all industries have been affected exclusively by the virus, however. Laimdota Komare, an economist at Swedbank, told Latvian Television that wood manufacture is still being affected by last year's insect infestation and storms, as well as Brexit. There's little hope in the industry for a quick rebound.

Some industries, however, have actually profited this time. Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products grew 27.5% in April due to increased demand for disinfectant. Manufacture of electrical equipment grew 10% and paper manufacture grew 6.4%.

But the Economics Ministry admits it's difficult to tell what the future will bring to Latvia's economy and its manufacturers.

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