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Russia Economy Grows 5.5 Percent

August 24, 2001

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia’s economy grew 5.5 percent in the first seven months of 2001, down from 8.8 percent in the same period last year, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Friday.

Industrial production also rose at a slower pace _ 5.4 percent _ from January through July, compared to 12.9 percent during the same period last year, according to a report posted on the ministry’s web site.

The Russian economy has been recovering from a 1998 financial crisis, achieving record growth last year. The growth has been driven largely by high oil prices, the country’s main export. Industrial production also received a boost from the devaluation of the ruble, which made domestic goods cheaper and therefore more competitive.

But fears of dropping oil prices, looming foreign debt payments and rising inflation have prompted warnings that Russia’s economy may falter.

Both exports and imports rose compared to last year, the ministry said. Russia exported $61.5 billion worth of goods over the seven months, compared to $58 billion last year. Imports leaped to $29.1 billion from last year’s $24 billion.

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