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    INVESTMENTS WERE PRIME MOVER OF RUSSIA'S 2003 ECONOMY

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 18. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- In 2003 for the first time after a long break investments were the prime mover of Russia's economic growth. This is said in a regular report of the World Bank on the Russian economy, which has come to hand at RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

    Now that the economic capacities have, on the main, been loaded, further growth is impossible without investments. In the figures of the Russian Statistical Committee, investments in the fixed capital have increased by 12.5 percent, which is a large boost from 2.6 percent last year, says the World Bank.

    It stresses that the growth in the volume of domestic investments was accompanied by a somewhat increase in the general flow of foreign investments, although the State Statistical Committee and the Central Bank of Russia cite different figures on their make-up and temporary structure.

    All are at one that the inflow of portfolio investments and foreign credits increased in 2003, slowing down in the first half of this year, World Bank experts say.

    The decline may be due to the Central Bank's policy of lowering the interest rate and/or it is a reaction to the Yukos case. These two factors are inseparable, though none has triggered a sharp and undelayed response, the report continues.

    The net volume of registered direct foreign investments /including Russian investments abroad/ in 2003 was a negative magnitude, meaning that Russia is as before a net exporter of capital, even not minding capital outflow, the World Bank report goes on to say.

    According to the recent estimates of the State Statistical Committee, the real growth of the gross domestic product in 2003 was 7.3 percent, as a result of which the GDP volume in current prices was 13.3 trillion roubles, or 343 billion dollars.

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