Lithuania’s economy plunged a preliminary 22.4 percent in the second quarter, the worst recession since 1990 independence, as output crashed and retail sales slumped, Bloomberg reported. The decline, the deepest in the European Union, compares with a revised 13.3 percent contraction in the first quarter, the Vilnius-based statistics office said in an e-mailed statement today. The economy grew 5.2 percent in the same period last year. The Baltic economies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are collapsing after a real-estate bubble burst, cheap credit evaporated and slacking demand in foreign markets undermined exports. The three countries, which had the EU’s fastest growing economies from 2004 to 2006, now have the steepest declines of all developing regions. Read more.