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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN: East To Enjoy Growth

GENEVA -- The ex-communist states of Eastern Europe look headed for solid economic growth next year and even troubled Russia could achieve the best results since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, United Nations analysts said Monday.

In its annual Bulletin, the UN's Economic Commission for Europe, or ECE, predicted that the six former Soviet-bloc states, Albania and the countries that emerged from the old Yugoslavia should average around 4.5 percent growth in 1995.

Prospects for continued expansion "remain rather good and some acceleration in average GDP growth to about 5 percent seems a reasonable expectation for 1996," said the bulletin.

Although in Russia and the other ex-Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States output was falling for the sixth year in a row, Russia's decline had slowed sharply to between 4 percent and 5 percent against 15 percent in 1994.

The economic stabilization program launched in March, a steady drop in inflation rates to the lowest since 1991, a growing trade surplus and the restoration of foreign currency reserves suggested better times were ahead, the ECE indicated.

For Russia these factors, the analysts said, "provide grounds for rather more optimism than has been possible at any time since the transition to a market economy got under way."

And they said latest figures suggested that the level of production had been "fairly stable" since early this year, with output improvements in chemicals, metallurgy and other intermediate goods sectors where exports to the West had soared.