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    Russia's GDP to shrink 7% in 2009, grow 3.5% in 2010 - Fitch

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    Fitch Ratings revised on Tuesday its forecast for Russia's GDP decline in 2009 from zero to 7%, but said the economy is likely to grow 3.5% next year.

    MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Fitch Ratings revised on Tuesday its forecast for Russia's GDP decline in 2009 from zero to 7%, but said the economy is likely to grow 3.5% next year.

    The international rating agency said in a statement that the country's economic growth next year would be "helped by the inventory cycle, base effects, higher oil prices and a large fiscal stimulus."

    Fitch also said that the recession, lower oil prices and anti-crisis measures would cause the federal budget to swing from a surplus of 4.1% of GDP in 2008 to a deficit of 8.5% in 2009 and 6% in 2010.

    "Even with a return to the Eurobond market next year, this will cause the Reserve Fund to be depleted in 2010 and require significant fiscal consolidation over the medium-term," the statement said.

    The agency affirmed Russia's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default ratings (IDR) at BBB with negative outlooks.

    "The Russian economy and sovereign balance sheet have been severely affected by the global financial crisis and, despite signs of economic and financial stabilization since March, risks to creditworthiness remain on the downside."

     

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