Average GDP growth in CIS countries came to 7% in the first half of 2003. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced today by the CIS statistics committee. Last year the average figure for GDP growth was only 4%. Among the countries enjoying the fastest GDP growth were Armenia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, where GDP rose by 14.8%, 10.4% and 10.1% respectively. Russia was only seventh in the list with GDP growth at 7.2%.
According to the statistics committee, industrial production rose by 8% on average over the first six months of 2003 whereas last year there was only a 4% increase. Also, the volume of cargo transported in CIS countries rose by 8%, compared to only 4% last year, and fixed capital investment rose by 14%, compared to 6% last year. In addition, 13% more housing was built over the January-June period year-on-year.
The statistics committee also disclosed that most CIS countries enjoyed economic growth over the six-month period including low levels of inflation, rising living standards and currency stability in relation to the dollar. High international oil prices brought greater foreign trade. However, the problem of non-payment between companies is still common in certain industries and banks rarely offer long-term loans. Furthermore, despite rising investment the level of activity among domestic and foreign investors in CIS countries is still not enough to provide steady long-term economic growth.