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Investment in Russia will rise by a record 13.2% this year
Investment in Russia will rise by a record 13.2% this year, and the economics ministry could raise its forecast for 2006 GDP growth from 6.6% to 6.9%, minister German Gref said Monday. "The increase in the forecast is approximately 0.2-0.3 points, so annual growth will be 6.8-6.9%," Gref told a Cabinet meeting attended by the president. The ministry's official forecast for this year's industrial production growth is 4.7%. Russia raised industrial output by 5.4% in October year-on-year, and by 4.3% over the fist nine months of 2006. The minister said retail trade has climbed 14.6% this year, with imports accounting for 50% of the increase. Investment growth in October was 19.1% year-on-year, and 12.6% in January-October 2006, and will rise by a total of 13.2% by the end of the year, Gref said. Earlier forecasts put the figure at 11-11.5%. "Previous years did not see such strong investment growth," the minister said. He attributed the high rates to the healthy state of the economy, and tax and customs measures. "We have lifted import duties in 900 cases, improved amortization policy, and for the first time allowed companies to refund VAT following the commissioning of each stage of facilities, without waiting for the whole investment cycle to be completed," Gref said.
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