Consumer expenditures grew by 5.4% in Russia in Q1

The real consumer expenditures increased by 5.4% in Russia in the firstquarter of 2002 compared to those of the first quarter of last year. Theirshare in the total volume of the GDP increased by 54.8% over that period(compared to 51.2% in the first quarter of 2001). This data was publishedby the Macroeconomic Research Center of the UNIKON/MS Consulting Groupcompany with reference to the State Statistics Committee of Russia. Therefore, consumer expenditures have been playing the leading role insupporting the economic growth rate. A rise in available individualincomes, which was faster than that of the previous year, has alsosubstantially facilitated this process. Thus, the real available individualincomes grew by 8.3% in the first quarter of 2002 and by 7.7% in the secondquarter, compared to the growth rates of 3.8% and 5% in the first andsecond quarters of last year respectively.The effect of the investment demand on the economic growth has somewhatdecreased. Thus, the rate of growth in gross savings reached 105.9% in thefirst quarter of 2002 compared to that of the corresponding period of lastyear. In the first quarter of 2001 the corresponding figure reached 124.4%.A rise in the amount of material current assets, whose percentage reached6.2% (compared to 4% in the first quarter of 2001), has made a majorcontribution to a rise in the percentage of gross savings in the totalvolume of the GDP. At the same time, foreign demand is still lower than the domestic demand.As a result of a growth in imports, the percentage of net exports (withoutimports) of goods and services in the structure of GDP use sharply fell to10.8% in the first quarter of 2002 compared to 18.3% in the first quarterof 2001. In the opinion of experts of the Macroeconomic Research Center, theincrease in the consumer expenditures has had a positive effect on growthin consumer-orientated industries. Nonetheless, these industries havefailed to make full use of this growth in consumer demand. T! o a substantialextent the increased consumer demand has been covered by means of a rise inthe import of goods. .

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