RUSSIAN GOODS' COMPETITIVENESS ON THE RISE

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MOSCOW, AUGUST 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry notes a rise in the competitiveness of Russian goods: its experts have studied the GDP growth structure in the first six months of 2004.

"Despite the strengthening of the real exchange rate of the rouble, the Russian producers' share in meeting the domestic consumer demand increased from 2.9 percent point of the 2003 GDP to 3.3 in the first half of 2004. It is the evidence of a certain rise in the competitiveness of Russian goods", reads the monitoring report published on the ministerial official web site on Tuesday.

At the same time, in the 2004 second quarter in comparison with the start of the year, the domestic demand structure somewhat altered in favour of imported goods although the strengthening of the rouble rate was actually suspended at that time. It is another indication of the declining rate-forming factor in the relative competitiveness of Russian goods, analysts say.

In industry, a shift towards sectors putting out end products is taking place, the report says. Their share in the production increment in the 2004 first six months was 44.7 percent against about 30 percent in the 2003 first six months.

These sectors' growth rate was 10.6 percent against 7.4 percent in the industry as a whole. The largest share (about 36 percent) in industrial output in the 2004 first half was done by machine-building and metal-working (growth rate 14.9 percent).

While in 2003 about 65 percent of the increment in domestic demand (consumer and investment) was met by import, this year the growing output of goods and services will lead to a situation when almost 45 percent of the domestic demand increment will be met by domestic products, analysts forecast.

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