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The growth of GDP this year will make up 6.8%
The growth of GDP this year will make up 6.8%, Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref stated while speaking at the "government hour" in the State Duma today. Though it was initially planned that GDP will grow by 6.9%, the current figure fits into the target parameters, he added. Mr. Gref also said that, despite the tough monetary policy currently pursued by the Central Bank, inflation in 2004 would make up 11.5%. According to him, this is first of all a result of the sizeable hike of the prices of fuel and lubricants and meat and dairy products. The Economic Development Minister also highlighted lower investment activity on the Russian stock market. "This year we received low dynamics of strategic and portfolio investments on the stock market," the Minister said. "As of October 1, the stock market's incomes made up not more than 10-12%," Mr. Gref added. He recalled that the growth rate of the stock market's incomes last year had been at the level of 50%. The investments in oil production in Russia dropped by 20% over nine months of 2004, Mr. Gref said. This led to the fall of the growth rate of oil output from 9.8% in June to 7% in October, the Minister went on to say. According to the Economic Development Ministry's data, from the beginning of the year the gold and foreign currency reserves have increased by $37 billion, i.e., by 48%. As of November 19, the gold and foreign currency reserves amounted to $113.9 billion, which is a new historical maximum, the Ministry officials noted. The Economic Development Ministry notes that over 10 months of this year the real wages and salaries increased by nearly 13% as against the same period of last year, and the back wages diminished by nearly 34% during last year. By the Economic Development Ministry's estimate, in January-October of this year the export surplus reached a new record figure, $71.4 billion, as against $50.1 billion in January-October 2003
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