Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Latvia: "A Baltic quagmire, continued"

It didn't start with "Latvian Hookers Signal No Recovery for Economy"* but recently I've caught myself following the news from the Baltics with more focus than usual. In the link-vault we have the headline story:

Voices advocating a devaluation in Latvia appear to be growing by the minute. Equally so is the chorus comparing the recent spate of affairs to a major crossing of the Rubicon for the country.

Here, for example, is the latest view from Timothy Ash, head of emerging European Research, at RBS:

We sense that a similar Rubicon was crossed this week in Latvia when the prior cross party support for the exchange rate peg was finally broken with a former PM calling for a currency correction; just a year back a local economist was arrested for uttering doubts over the durability of the fixed exchange rate regime....MORE
Along with a couple of it's FT Alphaville pals:
Is Eastern Europe on the edge again?
Waiting for Latvia to devalue

The Swedes have a $75 Billion exposure to the Baltic economies that could make Iceland look like a warm-up act, especially if the contagion heads south and the eastern Europe exposure of Austria starts getting spanked. I keep an eye on things (so you don't have to).
Being the professional that I am, I researched this Sunday Telegraph story in depth:

Blondes march in Latvia 'to cheer-up nation'

Blondes march in Latvia 'to cheer-up nation'
The first-ever blonde parade featured women dressed in pink and white

Led by an orchestra, the first-ever blonde parade featured women dressed in

pink and white, some accompanied by lapdogs, in a charity fund-raising event that organisers hope will become an annual event....

...The parade was part of a "Blonde Weekend" which also featured a blonde golf tournament, a little lady fashion show, an evening ball, and a children's drawing competition.

"It's a great time to spend in the parade and contribute to a charity," said Ieva,

one blonde spectator.

"Finally something different, something positive because I'm tired of hearing

about the crisis," said another, 70-year-old Ausma.

The event attracted many locals and puzzled tourists....

Apparently I am not the only analyst focused on this area:

RIA Novosti:

Latvian blonde parade to become annual event

Blonde girls parade in Riga
RIA Novosti Oksana Dzhadan

Der Spiegel:
Blonde Parade Lifts Spirits in Gloomy Latvia

Many of the women were followed closely by enthusiastic musicians.

: Blonde therapy lifts spirits in crisis-hit Latvia

Two blondes are pictured as they parade through the streets of the capital Riga

And many, many more. Just like the coverage of the NYSSA.

Although the story is in a lot of places, I'll give the Hat Tip to Boom2Bust.

[so to speak? -ed]

*As I said in "Etymology of the terms Bull Market and Bear Market":

I know a Latvian philologist. She looks like Marina Orlova, the YouTube sensation (I seem to recall one of Ms. Orlova's videos getting two million hits.) I like it when she teaches me words....