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    Experts predict GDP will grow 6%, inflation 12% in 2005

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    MOSCOW, June (RIA Novosti) - The Higher School of Economics' Data Analysis Center is predicting GDP will grow 5.3% during the first half of this year and will increase 5.5%-6% as a whole, the center reported Tuesday.

    "In the event current growth intensifies, the GDP will grow by 5.3% in the first quarter against the first half of 2004, while its annual growth is expected at 5.5%- 6%," the center said.

    Experts pointed to a decline in Russia's economic growth.

    "A variety of services that constitute GDP have grown dramatically against the relevant period in 2004, thereby preserving the general GDP dynamics," the center said.

    Consumer prices will increase 8% in the first six months of 2005. Therefore, last year's inflation rate of less than 12%, would be the best attainable annual result. Last year, the "official" inflation rate reached 11.7%.

    Experts are predicting consumer prices to grow 0.5% in June. July should see a 0.3% dip in inflation, and prices in August are likely to remain stable due to seasonal factors.

    The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said the GDP would grow by 5.8% in 2005 and inflation should not exceed 10%. Earlier, the ministry said inflation would amount to 8.5%. In June, prices will grow 0.5% -0.6%, according to the ministry.

    Given the growing domestic demand for industrial products, experts forecast a rise in industrial output, i.e. 4.5% during the first half of 2005 compared to a similar period in 2004.

    In May, industrial output decreased by 3%. In June and July, it is expected to grow by 2.5% and 4% respectively. In August, industrial output will grow by 1%, according to the center.

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