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#4 - JRL 7169
Moscow Times
May 6, 2003
GDP Revised for 1996-2000
Combined Reports

The State Statistics Committee said Monday it had revised data on the country's gross domestic product for 1996-2000, leaving figures for 2001 and 2002 unchanged.

The new GDP figures include updated information on retail trade and services as well as revised data on Russia's balance of payments, the committee said in a statement posted on its web site, www.gks.ru.

As a further indication of the deep impact of the 1998 financial crisis, the GDP figure was shifted down to -5.3 percent from -4.6 percent. The committee added a whole percentage point to growth levels for 1999 and 2000, raising them to 6.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The revision is not the first of a kind. In February 2002, the committee revised its GDP figures for 1999 and 2000, hiking them from 3.5 percent to 5.4 percent and from 8.3 percent to 9 percent, respectively.

Last year's revision was based on the reweighting of various industries and a recalculation of the impact of small- and medium-sized enterprises on the economy, committee officials said.

Although all the changes are said to be of a purely technical nature, the new announcement left observers puzzled, just as a year ago.

"It appears that there are only five levels of growth one can talk about in Russia -- very bad, bad, zero, good and very good. Everything else is meaningless," said Roland Nash, head of research at Renaissance Capital investment bank.

He added that going back and refiguring GDP by as much as 1 percent years after the fact detracts from the seriousness of debates among economists over what this year's GDP will be, since it shows that everything is subject to revision.

The government's official 2003 forecast is for 4.4 percent growth, but key officials have said they expect the country's economy to grow by 5 percent this year. Many analysts have recently started to adjust their forecasts even higher than that, to above 5 percent. (Reuters, MT)

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GDP Revisions*
Year Old New

1996 -3.4 -3.6
1997 0.9 1.4
1998 -4.9 -5.3
1999 5.4 6.4
2000 9.0 10.0
2001 5.0 5.0
2002 4.3 4.3

* Percent changes for 1996-2000 are given at average 1995 prices. Percent changes for 2000-2002 are given at average 2000 prices.

Source: State Statistics Committee

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