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    MOSCOW, March 4, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - This year, foreign investment in Moscow is expected to grow by 15-20%, Head of Moscow's International Ties Department Georgy Muradov said to reporters on Thursday.

    In his words, the city authorities do not expect investment to swell this year to an extent of 40-45% to total $12 billiion as in 2003.

    According to Muradov, from 2000 foreign investment in the capital has grown five-fold. As of 2003, Moscow is ranking second in the world after Shanghai.

    The city budget accounts for about $12 billion, which equals foreign investment, Muradov said.

    According to the head of the International Ties Department, the bulk of the foreign capital will be channelled to the construction market this year, and also the trade sector. Presumably, it will fund the construction of several retail centres for goods from Turkey, China, Vietnam and Armenia. Each of these countries will be able to present its goods at a special centre. Besides, Muradov said, foreign investment is expected to go up in the communications, telecommunications, and hi-tech areas.

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