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    OFFICIAL RUSSIAN STATISTICS UNDERESTIMATE OIL OUTPUT'S SHARE IN GDP-WORLD BANK

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 7, RIA NOVOSTI - The actual share of oil and gas output in Russia's Gross Domestic Product is 20 percent, not the 8 percent cited by official Russian sources, World Bank experts claim.

    Christof Ruehl, the World Bank's top expert on Russia, told a Moscow press conference Wednesday that official Russian statistics understated the share of oil and gas in the country's economy. Thus, for instance, the official data for the year 2000 put the oil & gas sector's share in the GDP at 8 percent whereas the actual figure was at least 20 percent.

    According to the WB expert, such a large share of the energy sector in the Gross Domestic Product attests to the fact that the Russian economy is actually more sensitive to price fluctuations on the world's energy markets than Russian authorities will have us believe.

    The greater the oil price fluctuations, the fewer factors contribute to GDP growth, and vice versa. This explains why Russia manages to achieve an above-5% growth rate only when the world oil prices are up, Mr. Ruehl pointed out.

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