Located in Northern Europe, Latvia is one of the Baltic States and a memberof the European Union since 2004.
Latvia is a developed country with high-income economy.Main industries of Latvian economy are processed foods and wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, and synthetic fibers.
Latvia banking and financial system has been developing rapidly since 1991when Latvia declared its independence from the Soviet Union.Latvian banking sector is relatively small, highly concentrated,with high share of foreign capital. Most of the foreign-controlled banks are originated from Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden); most of the domestic banks are privately owned. The majority of Latvian banks operate as universal banks, however there are also specialized banks, focused solely on wealth management or corporate banking. More than a half banks in Latvia provide their products and services to non-residents (offshore banking).
Latvia joined the Euro Area on 1 January 2014. The preceding national currency, Latvian lat (LVL), was replaced by Euro.
|Nominal GDP (2016)||Nominal GDP per Capita (2016)||Real GDP Growth (2016)|
|25.0 bln EUR (+0.02%)||12 800 EUR (+0.04%)||2.0 % (2015: 2.7 %)|
According to Eurostat, nominal GDP of Latvia in 2016 was 25.0 bln EUR.
Latvia outperforms the European Union in terms of real GDP growth with the average annual differential coming to 1.4% over the past 10 years (2006 - 2016). In 2016 real GDP growth was 2.0% which was above the Euro Area average (1.8%) and above the European Union average (1.9%). Real GDP growth in 2017 - 2022 are IMF's estimates.
Chart 1. Real GDP Growth in Latvia. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.
In 2016, nominal GDP per capita in Latvia was 12 800 EUR.
Latvia has a below-average level of wealth in terms of per-capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP); this economic welfare indicator has, on average, fell behind that of the European Union by -29.0% over the past 10 years (2006 - 2016). GDP per capita at PPP in 2017 - 2022 are IMF's estimates.
Chart 2. GDP Per Capita at Purchasing Power Parity in Latvia; European Union = 100.
|CPI, MoM (Sep 2017)||CPI, YoY (Sep 2017)||CPI, Year Average (2016)|
|0.2 % (Aug 2017: -0.1 %)||3.0 % (Aug 2017: 3.2 %)||0.1 % (2015: 0.2 %)|
According to Eurostat, inflation rate in Latvia in 2016 expressed as annual percentages of average consumer prices was 0.1% which was below the Euro Area average (0.2%) and below the European Union average (0.3%). Inflation rates in 2017 - 2022 are IMF's estimates.
Chart 3. Inflation Rate in Latvia. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.
|Unemployment Rate (2016)|
|9.6 % (2015: 9.9 %)|
|Government Bond Yield (Sep 2017)|
|0.72 % (Aug 2017: 0.85 %)|
Chart 4. Government bond yield of Latvia. Source: Eurostat.
|A- (high credit quality), outlook stable||A3 (upper medium grade), outlook stable|
Withholding taxes are imposed at source of income and are often applied to dividends, interest, royalties, rent and similar payments. The rates of withholding tax are often reduced by double taxation agreements.
Withholding tax rates applied on payments of interest and dividends in Latvia are shown in Table 1.
|Natural person, resident||10.0 %||10.0 %|
|Natural person, non-resident||10.0 %||10.0 %|
Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) is an agreement between two or more countries for the avoidance of double taxation.
Latvia signed DTAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 1 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):
There are 3 ways for jusrisdictions to exchange information on tax matters:
Spontaneous exchange of information is provision of information that is forseeably relevant to another party without a request being previously sent.
Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) enable exchange of information on request relating to a specific tax investigation, either criminal or civil.
Automatic information exchange allows jurisdictions to exchange information automatically, without having a specific tax investigation.
Latvia signed TIEAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 1 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):
Latvia signed the automatic information exchange agreement on 29 October 2014 and committed to start the automatic information exchange in September 2017.
Latvia has signed bilateral agreements with 58 jurisdictions to automatically receive information:
Latvia has signed bilateral agreements with 70 jurisdictions to automatically send information:
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which became law in the United States in March 2010, focuses on reporting made by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The FATCA-reporting is facilitated by Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs).
|FATCA Status in Latvia|
|IGA in effect since 27 June 2014, Model 1|
Latvia has FATCA agreement with the U.S. in effect since 27 June 2014 (Intergovernmental Agreement Model 1). Financial institutions operating in Latvia are required to identify U.S. taxpayers by January 1, 2017 and to report the information for 2017 and the subsequent years. The agreement is reciprocal: Latvian financial accounts hold in U.S. financial institutions will be reported to Latvian authorities.
|Financial Market Development|
|4.1 (max 7.0), 64th out of 138 countries|
|4.7 (max 7.0), 73rd out of 138 countries|
According to World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, financial market development in Latvia is scored 4.1 out of maximum 7.0 and ranked 64th out of 138 analysed economies, trustworthiness and confidence of financial market is scored 4.7 (43rd place).
Chart 5. Financial Market Development in Latvia. Source: WEF.
Soundness of banks is scored 4.7 bringing Latvia into the 73rd place.
Chart 6. Soundness of Banks in Latvia. Source: WEF.
|Maximum Protected Amount|
|100 000 EUR|
Deposit Guarantee Schemes compensate certain deposits held by depositors of a bank that becomes unable to meet its obligations.
From a depositor's point of view it is important to know:
All these details about deposit guarantee scheme in Latvia are summarised in Table 2.
|Scheme Participants||all credit institutions operating in Latvia, branches of non-EU banks, branches of Latvian banks abroad|
|Scheme Exemptions||branches of EU-banks (covered by their home countries)|
|Eligible Depositors||natural persons, legal entities|
|Covered Accounts||deposits, current account balance, salary accounts, savings accounts etc.|
|Maximum Protected Amount||100 000 EUR|
|Paid In Currency||EUR|
Table 2. Deposit guarantee scheme in Latvia.
Moody's country ceilings for deposits specify the highest rating that can be assigned to local- or foreign- currency denominated deposit obligations of a bank or other deposit taking institution domiciled within that country.
|Local Currency (Euro)||Foreign Currency|
|Aaa (prime)||Aaa (prime)|
Local currency (Euro) deposit ceiling for Latvia is set to Aaa (prime), foreign currency deposit ceiling is Aaa (prime).
|Average Deposit Rate (Aug 2017, EUR)|
|0.53 % (Jul 2017: 0.43 %)|
Chart 7. Deposit Rates in Latvia. Source: ECB.
|Number of Banks|
|Consolidated Assets (2016)|
|29 675.76 mln EUR (-7.89%)|
|Recent Changes (2016)|
|new banks: 0, closed banks: 4|
Currently there are 55 credit institutions operating in Latvia.
In 2016 consolidated banking assets in Latvia were 29 675.76 mln EUR. The consolidated banking assets' evolution is shown at Chart 8 below.
Chart 8. Consolidated banking assets in Latvia.
Recent structural changes (2013 - 2016) of the banking sector of Latvia are summarised in Table 3.
|Number of Opened Banks||0||1||3||0|
|Number of Closed Banks||1||5||1||4|
Table 3. Recent structural changes in the banking sector of Latvia.
The list of the most recently opened banks in Latvia is provided in Table 4.
|Rīgas kooperatīvā krājaizdevu sabiedrība (new)||October 2015|
|Kooperatīvā krājaizdevu sabiedrība "Latvijas lauksaimnieku krājaizdevu sabiedrība" (new)||July 2015|
|AS LHV Pank Latvijas filiāle (closed)||February 2015|
|Nordea Bank AB Latvijas filiāle (closed)||February 2014|
Table 4. The most recently opened banks in Latvia.
All the credit institutions operating in Latvia can be classified into several categories. Table 5 summarises the number of banks in each category.
|Category||Number of Banks|
|Branches of foreign banks||5|
There are 5 branches of foreign banks from 4 different countries in Latvia. Table 6 shows the number of branches grouped by the country of origin.
|Country of Origin||Number of Branches|
|2||ABLV Bank, AS|
|3||AS "SEB banka"|
|4||Akciju sabiedrība "Rietumu Banka"|
|5||Luminor Bank AS|
|6||Akciju sabiedrība "Citadele banka"|