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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trade Surplus Rises

MOSCOW -- Russia has the world's third biggest trade surplus after those of Germany and Japan, Anatoly Kruglov, chairman of the Russian State Customs Committee, said Thursday.

He said the surplus last year rose 22.9 percent to $39 billion. Kruglov attributed 96 percent of the surplus to energy exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union.

Worsening world trends last year prompted Russia to reduce several traditional exports, including nonferrous metals, fertilizers, timber and forest products, Kruglov said.

Kruglov said the poor amount of manufactured products was frustrating better trade figures. Manufactured products accounted for just 8.1 percent of overall exports in 1996, little changed from 1995.

European bourses, already down sharply in morning trading, slumped heavily along with Wall Street on Thursday after the U.S. central bank chief gave his clearest warning yet that U.S. rates are set to rise for the first time in 2 years.

But it was good news for the dollar which immediately jumped over half a pfennig to well above 1.68 Deutsche marks and passed the 123 yen level.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan signaled the central bank was moving toward tightening credit, possibly as soon as next week.

In testimony to Congress' Joint Economic Committee, Greenspan said the economy retains "a great deal of vigor.