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    Russia's economy could grow by as much as 4-4.5% in 2010 compared with the government's forecast of 3-3.5%, an Economic Development Ministry official said on Tuesday.

    Russia's economy could grow by as much as 4-4.5% in 2010 compared with the government's forecast of 3-3.5%, an Economic Development Ministry official said on Tuesday.

    "Our forecast for 2010 is moderately optimistic. We expect GDP to grow by 3-3.5% in 2010. Added to the third and fourth quarter growth of 2009, this could be as high as 6%," Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said.

    "Economic growth could be from 4 to 4.5% - this is realistic enough," he added.

    In December 2009, the Economic Development Ministry predicted the economy would grow 3.1% in 2010 under a moderately optimistic scenario based on a global oil price of $65 per barrel.

    Klepach said, however, that a drop in lending and low consumer demand were the main factors restricting economic growth in 2010, adding that Russia's GDP was expected to grow 5% or more from 2012-2013.

    Russia was hit hard by the global financial and economic crisis as a result of its reliance on revenue from oil exports. It was forced to gradually devalue the ruble amid capital flight and a fall in global oil prices, which declined from their peak of $147 per barrel in July 2008 to around $40 per barrel in early 2009.

    Russia began to come out of recession from the third quarter of 2009, following a recovery in international commodity markets and government anti-crisis measures, which propped up the national economy and restored consumer demand.

    Global oil prices have climbed back to about $80 per barrel since the 2008 global financial and economic meltdown.

    MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti)

     

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