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Lithuania Must Exploit Slow CPI in Euro Bid, Central Banker Says

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania should make use of slower inflation to push ahead with its bid to join the euro area in 2015, the head of the Baltic nation’s central bank said.

Inflation is the main barrier to adopting the common currency, Chairman Vitas Vasiliauskas said today from the capital, Vilnius. Consumer prices rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier in June, slowing from 2.5 percent in the same month of 2012 and 4.8 percent in June 2011, statistics office data show.

There’s a “window to fulfill the inflation criteria,” Vasiliauskas said in a phone interview with Bloomberg TV’s Anna Edwards. The government should “catch the moment.”

The country of 3 million, which pegs the litas to the euro, plans to follow Estonia and Latvia in making the currency switch. The benefits for Lithuania from joining outweigh the risks, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said July 17 in Vilnius.

The economy will grow 3 percent this year and 3 percent-4 percent in 2014, Vasiliauskas said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aliaksandr Kudrytski in Minsk, Belarus at akudrytski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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