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Credit Crunch Could Cool Hot Baltics

The global crisis is finally doing what governments wouldn't, reining in the economics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

It's strange to say it, but the U.S. credit crisis might be just the bitter pill the Baltics needed.

For years economists have warned that the super-charged economies of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were in danger of overheating and needed to retreat from the red line. Robust consumer spending, however, has continued driving growth and, with it, inflation, which reached a staggering 14.1 percent in Latvia last year.