Russian Government expects this year's economic growth to reach 3.9%

The Russian government forecasts the national 2002 economic growth at 3.9%, said the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Alexei Kudrin, speaking at the All-Russian conference of young production managers, members and supporters of the influential United Russia Party.

Kudrin admitted that this year's economic growth rate was down compared to the last year's figures.

The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that this year many economic growth factors started to interact, production investments increased, and the real income of population rose by 6% entailing the effective demand increase.

Kudrin noted that social and economic stability was another positive factor in the country's development. The Deputy Prime Minister expects the next year's economic growth to reach 4.4% paving the way for further increase of the economic growth rate in the near future.

Kudrin expressed confidence that Russia would "definitely be able" to pay $17.3 billion of the national external debt. He stressed that the external debt payment would be carried out "together with fulfilling other social and economic commitments." "The government's ability to repay the debt will be another test for our economy," noted Kudrin.

The Deputy Prime Minister noted that "in the last two or three years Russia had one of the most stable exchange rates." However, in his words, on the one hand the government intends to restrain excessive strengthening of the ruble exchange rate for the purpose of improving the national economic competitive ability, and on the other, take measures to bring down the inflation.

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