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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Economy Up 7.9% in Quarter

The country's economy expanded in the first quarter at the fastest pace in six years as production of building materials and electronics increased.

Gross domestic product grew an annual 7.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with 5 percent in the first quarter of last year, the State Statistics Service said on its web site Thursday. GDP figures are not seasonably adjusted in Russia.

The economy, which expanded 6.7 percent last year, will probably advance 6.5 percent this year, according to the Economic Development and Trade Ministry's forecasts. GDP may even grow 7 percent by the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said Thursday, Interfax reported.

The growth, boosted by energy sales, has trickled down into the economy in the form of higher salaries in other industries and increased retail sales.

Real wages surged 18.5 percent over the first four months of 2007, boosting average monthly wages to 12,510 rubles ($480), while retail sales jumped 13.4 percent in the first quarter, compared with 10.4 percent in the year-earlier period, according to the statistics service.

Milder temperatures gave a boost to industrial output, helping the economy expand faster, said Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at UralSib.

Industrial output increased 7.9 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with 4.1 percent in the same period last year, according to the statistics service.