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  Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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The Russian president's economic advisor said Tuesday that he expected inflation in 2005 to reach 11-15%
Andrei Illarionov said the annual inflation rate would be one or one-and-a-half percentage points higher than predicted. "In the first two weeks of October, inflation was 0.3 %. The month's rate has been forecast at 0.6-0.7%. If the tendency persists, I'm not ruling out the year's rate of inflation coming to 11-11.5%," he said. According to the presidential aide, Russia's GDP growth in 2005 may amount to 6%. "This is quite likely," he said, citing September's industrial output figures. But Illarionov said the Russian economy appeared to be growing in spurts, which, he said, "may be down to the quality of statistical data." Speaking of measures to curb inflation, Illarionov said the cutoff price for oil taxes and export duties to go into the Russian government's stabilization fund should be lowered to $20 per barrel, down from the current $27, and that money from the fund should be used solely for repaying foreign debts. He also spoke against the idea of setting up an investment fund to divert part of Russia's windfall oil revenues into various infrastructure projects. Commenting on the reprivatization of the Ukrainian steel conglomerate Krivorozhstal, Illarionov described it as "a brilliant example of how a privatization tender should be held." He said, "this is an excellent example of open competition with clear-cut rules and with both domestic and foreign bidders taking part." Krivorozhstal was auctioned off Monday to the world's largest steel producer, Mittal Steel, which offered $4.79 billion for 93.02% of the Ukrainian company's shares. Its first privatization in an $800 million deal with then-president Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law was widely seen as rigged. President Viktor Yushchenko, who succeeded Kuchma on the back of the Orange Revolution, classified the deal as theft and pledged to reverse it.
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