Commentary
Latvia Weekly podcast available
Latvia Weekly podcast available
Here's a reminder that the independent 'Latvia Weekly' podcast is available for anyone wanting to fill their ears with English-language discussion of Latvian current affairs.
Is it worth refinancing a housing loan in Latvia?
Is it worth refinancing a housing loan in Latvia?
A new piece of analysis by Latvian central bank economists Kārlis Vilerts, Konstantīns Beņkovskis and Artūrs Jānis Ņikitins ponders a question that is likely on the minds of many homeowners at present – is it time to think about changing current mortgage arrangements? 
2024: an opportunity for Latvia to become a major Web3 hub in Europe
2024: an opportunity for Latvia to become a major Web3 hub in Europe
Latvia's international competitiveness must be built on innovation in the digital sector, and the adoption of appropriate regulation could allow the Web3 and blockchain industry to become part of Latvia's economic identity. Next year will be crucial for Latvia's ability to position itself as a country open to innovation in financial sector, writes Reinis Znotiņš, Executive Director at the Latvian Blockchain Association.
No surprises: inflation is low
No surprises: inflation is low
In November, the average level of prices in Latvia remained unchanged month on month, with annual inflation falling to 1.0%. 
Digitalization of healthcare in Latvia – why, how and for whom?
Digitalization of healthcare in Latvia – why, how and for whom?
The importance of digitalization in and of healthcare has been placed into focus for several years and although there are systems in many countries, the full potential of it has not been fully implemented. In Latvia, the process has intensified recently, but what does it mean in practical terms? Kadi Lubi, Kristaps Krafte and Ieva Dzirkale offer their thoughts on the matter on behalf of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia.
Are Latvians REALLY heavily taxed?
Are Latvians REALLY heavily taxed?
Are Latvians heavily taxed? Ask ten Latvians this question and eleven of them will answer yes… At least, joke aside, that is my feeling after living many years in Latvia. The truth, however, is different.
Exploring the mysteries and metaphysics of Latvian cemetery traditions
Exploring the mysteries and metaphysics of Latvian cemetery traditions
The very particular Latvian tradition of tending graves and burial plots is included in the nation's cultural canon and plays an important role in Latvian society. Although attitudes towards death, dying and burial have attracted a lot of attention from anthropoligical researchers around the world, surprisingly little is known about the practice of visiting cemeteries, according to Madara Oga-Timofejeva, a student of social anthropology at Riga Stradins University (RSU), who writes below about her research project.
Public service media: independent or not?
Public service media: independent or not?
What do Latvia's residents think of media independence? How important is it? What does it mean in a media audience view? A recent study allowed media consumers to express themselves.
Of banks, supermarkets and the market economy
Of banks, supermarkets and the market economy
Having lived in Latvia for almost 30 years and having witnessed the country’s remarkable transformation towards a market economy that is highly integrated within the European Union, I am saddened by the current political debate regarding the banking system, in particular the idea of capping the interest rates that banks can charge. Allow me to argue – and warn – against this suggestion.
Media, journalists, and migrants
Media, journalists, and migrants
The current events in the border area of Latvia–Belarus are a reason to create daily news centered on migrants, border crossing, fence, breaking through it, deterring migrants, or allowing migrants into Latvia. The process is justifiably described in the context of the hybrid war by the Belarusian regime. How to write about all this in the media professionally and ethically?
It's surprising what you find in a Baltic bog
It's surprising what you find in a Baltic bog
It's rare that I feel annoyed these days about missing a press opportunity, but I must admit that it happened last week when I belatedly discovered that the three Baltic Prime Ministers had met in an Estonian bog. If ever there was a press opp designed for me, this was it.
Media freedom and media restriction
Media freedom and media restriction
Oh, so that's your "editorial independence and media freedom"! Why is this sentence, opinion, or word not flagged for violation? Why don't you ban it? Start a discussion about criminalizing journalists!
Diary of a Belarusian journalist in Latvia, Part 2
Diary of a Belarusian journalist in Latvia, Part 2
Once, when I – a Belarusian refugee in Latvia – was on a train from Rīga to Tukums, which has become my home in the two years I have lived in Latvia, an elderly woman approached me in the carriage. Dressed simply, with a flowery scarf on her head, she reminded me of my paternal grandmother, who was born in the Voronezh region. She came over and tried to ask me something… in English.
Diary of a Belarusian journalist in Latvia
Diary of a Belarusian journalist in Latvia
My life started from a blank page about two years ago in Tukums, which has become so dear to my heart that I now call it "my town". A wonderful, large, friendly Latvian family accepted me as one of their own.
My heartbeats on the edge of safety
My heartbeats on the edge of safety
A few days before the anniversary of the start of a full-scale war in Ukraine, I received an offer to create a performance for an exhibition called “How I've Been Feeling Lately".
What affects labor compensation in Latvia?
What affects labor compensation in Latvia?
The Latvian central bank (Latvijas banka, LB) has published a new commentary on the current state of labor market trends in the country, written by  LB economists Andrejs Migunovs, Ieva Opmane and Andrejs Bessonovs.
Inflation slowly losing steam
Inflation slowly losing steam
Although inflation receded in March compared to the record highs witnessed in the previous months, it is still elevated, and both headline inflation and price hikes in Latvia, excluding the variable energy and food prices, are among the highest in the euro area. In March 2023, the year-on-year price rise in Latvia was 17.3%, while the month-on-month price rise was 0.7%.
'Latvia Weekly' podcast reviews the local news
'Latvia Weekly' podcast reviews the local news
Here's a reminder that anyone on the look-out for an English-language podcast to add to their playlist might like to check out 'Latvia Weekly' which has a new episode available.
Lending in Latvia. Still the weak link?
Lending in Latvia. Still the weak link?
Bank loans represent one of the investment sources ensuring economic development. It is difficult to imagine a situation where the economy can see a dynamic long-term development without lending; therefore, access to loans, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is of critical importance, writes Latvian central bank economist Andrejs Kurbatskis for Macroeconomics.lv

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