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    BRITAIN BECOMES FIRST LARGEST INVESTOR IN RUSSIA'S ECONOMY

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    LONDON, FEBRUARY 20. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- Britain has become the first largest investor in the economy of Russia, Russian trade representative in Britain Vladimir Razdukhov told RIA Novosti on Friday with reference to the Russian State Statistical Committee.

    "The volume of current British investments in the Russian economy in 2003 increased two times from the preceding year to 4.6 billion dollars", he said.

    Thus, Britain has outpaced the traditional leaders - Germany and Cyprus, which were in the lead on results of 2002.

    Razdukhov noted that the rate of growth of British investments in 2003 was much higher than the general figure for Russia and the share of Britain in the amount of attracted investments reached 15.5 percent.

    The United Kingdom is among the main foreign investors in the Russian industry. Of all the investments made by British firms to Russia, this economic sector has got 26.7 percent, or 1.2 billion dollars. Specifically, investments were made in ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemistry and petrochemistry.

    To Razdukhov, alongside the industrial sector British firms in 2003 invested heavily in Russia's trade and public catering /1.8 billion dollars/, commercial activities beefing up the Russian market /1.4 billion dollars/.

    "As of late 2003, the accumulated British investments in the Russian economy stood at 7.2 billion dollars, showing a 42.9-percent increase from 2002. In turn, the British accumulated direct investments increased from 2.2 to 2.8 billion dollars", said the Russian trade representative.

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