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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Economy Expanded 7.6% in Q4

The economy expanded 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, completing the fifth straight year of growth, the State Statistics Service said Monday.

Gross domestic product, the total value of output produced inside Russia's borders, expanded to 2.27 trillion rubles ($79.5 billion) in the quarter, from 2.11 trillion rubles in the year-earlier period, the service said on its web site.

GDP totaled 8.63 trillion rubles for the full year of 2003, the service said.

Exports rose 16 percent in the fourth quarter to 1.17 trillion rubles. Imports expanded to 707.8 billion rubles, up 20 percent.

Russia boosted crude-oil output 11 percent last year and expanded it at the same rate in the first three months of 2004, probably overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer.

President Vladimir Putin has said the country needs to double the size of its economy in the next decade to fight poverty.

The economy dropped by more than half in the first eight years of the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

It grew for the first time in 1997, then contracted in 1998 after the country defaulted on about $40 billion of domestic debt and devalued the ruble.

The Cabinet last month boosted its forecast for 2004 economic growth to 6.4 percent this year -- up from the previous estimate of 5.2 percent.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said the government now expects the average rate of growth from 2005 to 2007 to be 6.2 percent, compared to 7.3 percent last year.

"The figures could turn out even higher if internal and external conditions are right," Gref said.

(Bloomberg, MT)