Fears of Recession Grow in Baltics

TALLINN, Estonia — Annual first-quarter economic growth figures for Estonia and Latvia were revised down Monday, Estonia's to a tiny 0.1 percent, sharpening fears of recession in the once-booming Baltic states.

Other data released Monday showed inflation continued its steady rise, increasing the region's problems.

Latvian growth was 3.3 percent in the first three months of 2008, revised down from 3.6 percent and down from 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. Estonia's tiny growth was a revision from expansion of 0.4 percent.

In the first quarter of 2007, the countries had double-digit growth: 11.3 percent in Latvia and 10.1 percent in Estonia. "It is obvious the economies of Latvia and Estonia are having a hard landing," Danske Bank analyst Violeta Klyviene said. Lithuania, where growth was a steady 6.9 percent in the first quarter, looked in better shape, she said.