January 1, 2014, when the euro will be implemented in Latvia, is fast approaching, and the percentage of entrepreneurs who support the process has increased quarter by quarter. 51% of entrepreneurs say that they support the introduction of the euro at this time, which is 16.4% more than in September last year – this according to the Citadele Index study that was conducted in September of this year by Citadele Bank and the SKDS public opinion research centre.
In June of this year, 48.8% of entrepreneurs said that they support the implementation of the euro, as against just 34.6% of them in September 2012. The greatest support for the euro is found among respondents from companies which earn revenues of more than LVL 1 million a year – 80% of them support the euro. The greatest support (71%) in terms of employee numbers is found among companies which have between 50 and 249 employees.
“Since the launch of this survey one year ago, support for the euro has increased in a targeted way among entrepreneurs, and that is happening because of the lower number of those who reject the plan,” says Citadele senior economist Zigurds Vaikulis. “This trend can partly be attributed to the factor of ‘becoming accustomed to the situation,’ but I also want to believe that increasing numbers of entrepreneurs see tangible and positive benefits for their specific companies when it comes to introducing the euro.”
Support for the euro among companies which do not export anything has increased a bit from June to September (45% to 47%), but nearly one-fifth of entrepreneurs (19.9%) have a neutral attitude about the issue. That percentage has not changed since June, and only 2.3% of entrepreneurs have no opinion about the matter at all.
Since June, the percentage of euro-sceptics – those entrepreneurs who do not support the implementation of the euro at all – has declined by 4.5% to a level of 15.5% in September. The percentage of those saying that they oppose the euro more than they support it, in turn, increased from 10.4% in June to 11.4% in September.
The Citadele Index study was conducted in September by Citadele and SKDS, and it involved responses from 750 managers at Latvian companies from various sectors and of various sizes.
The Citadele Index describes the subjective views of Latvian entrepreneurs about the economic situation in the country, also asking them to make forecasts for the next six months in area such as overall economic activity in the country and in the relevant business sector. The Citadele Index is based on a survey of 750 companies’ directors in Latvia who represent firms of different sizes and in various sectors. SKDS conducts the survey once every quarter. The last one was conducted in September 2013.
Citadele is a local Latvian bank, which offers banking, financial and asset management services. Citadele group is represented in the Latvian market as well as in 8 other countries. Citadele Bank is the only collaboration partner of American Express® in Latvia and Lithuania who is entitled to issue American Express credit cards. In 2012 the bank was recognized as the best governed state-owned enterprise in the Baltic States according to a study conducted by the Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance. Citadele’s vision is to become the most valuable local financial group in the Baltic States. 75% minus one Citadele Bank’s shares are possessed by the State Joint Stock Company Privatization agency on behalf of the Latvian State and the owner of 25% plus one share is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
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