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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

GDP Growth Forecast Raised to 5.7%

The Economic Development and Trade Ministry has raised its estimate for the country's 2003 economic growth to 5.7 percent from 4.6 percent in a preliminary reassessment.

"We have made new estimates based on results for the first half of the year. So far our estimate is 5.7 percent," Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told reporters Wednesday.

"In the evening we will hold consultations with the Central Bank and after that, it could become an official forecast."

The government had been aiming for 3.5 percent to 4.4 percent GDP growth in 2003, depending on global crude prices. But in May the Economic Development and Trade Ministry raised the forecast to 4.6 percent after a strong start to the year.

On Tuesday, Gref told President Vladimir Putin that GDP rose by 7.2 percent in the first six months of 2003, partly due to relatively weak growth in the same period a year ago.

Putin has said his government should improve the standard of living of ordinary Russians and close the gap with the West, doubling the size of the economy within a decade.

Growth forecasts for this year by economists range from 4.5 percent to more than 6 percent, on the back of strong global crude and commodities prices, mounting investment and robust domestic demand.

The economy grew 4.3 percent in 2002.

More cautious analysts say a decline in global crude prices as well as lack of structural reform could drag down economic growth in the second half of the year.