As German Gref, Russia's Minister of Trade and Economic Development said at a press conference in Moscow, his ministry is satisfied with the results the country's economy showed in 2002.
'Would be a sin to complain about the economic results of this year', the minister said. According to Mr. Gref, by the end of this year the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will amount to 4.1%, which is 0.6% better than projected in January. The fastest growing has been non-ferrous metallurgy - at 11.7%, food and fuel industries not far behind. Mr. Gref noted that these three branches of economy accounted for 70% of the total GDP.
The minister also said that the growth of real incomes of the population reached 8.5% to 9% on the year and called this 'an optimistic sign'. He also emphasised that unemployment figures were shrinking. Since 1999, unemployment decreased by 4%, by 1% in 2002 alone, and at this time is 8% of the whole workforce. 'This is very good', Mr. Gref said. 'These figures show that there is demand for labour in the country, which means that the growth of economy is continuing'.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sharply commented on the remarks from the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Germany