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Latvia tops 2012 EU growth

Keen to join the euro zone next year, Baltic state Latvia said Monday that revised data confirmed its economy grew by 5.6% in 2012, the strongest level in the 27-member European Union for the second year running. In the last three months of 2012, Latvian gross domestic product was 5.1% higher than in the same period of 2011, and was unchanged from initial estimates released in February. Latvia posted 5.5% growth in 2011 - the best figure for the entire EU. Strong results through the year by the farming and IT sectors along with a revival in the building sector helped contribute to the upbeat figures, the Central Statistical Bureau said. On a quarterly basis, the economy expanded by 1.4% in the final quarter of 2012 compared with the previous three-month period, the Riga-based agency said.