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    INFLATION IN JANUARY EXCEEDED 2 PER CENT

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    MOSCOW, February 4, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent) -- On Wednesday Russia's Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref voiced the view that in January inflation was at the level of 2 per cent.

    "Inflation will, most likely, amount at last year's level (2.4 per cent), or maybe a little less," he said.

    The Minister explained the high inflation rate at the beginning of the year by the fact that the Federation's entities and the municipal authorities raised the prices of services from January 1st.

    Gref does not doubt, however, that the high inflation in January will be compensated for by "calmer dynamics during the year".

    He presumed that in a number of regions the growth of tariffs could surpass the established restrictions. "We will examine this situation, and if violations are exposed we will take measures to appeal against them and to annul them," the Minister noted.

    He is participating in the fifth annual investment conference held by the US Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

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