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    Russia's growth in 2007 may hit 7% - finance minister-1

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    Russia's finance minister said Monday economic growth in the country this year could reach 7%. "This year we expect a growth rate higher than 6.7%, or even 7%," Alexei Kudrin said.

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    MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's finance minister said Monday economic growth in the country this year could reach 7%.

    "This year we expect a growth rate higher than 6.7%, or even 7%," Alexei Kudrin said.

    At a major economic forum in Russia's second city, St. Petersburg, earlier in June, Kudrin said Russia's GDP would grow 6.5-6.7% in 2007.

    "Today we can say the country has overcome the crisis," Kudrin said.

    Russia's state statistics body, Rosstat, said in mid-June Russian economic growth hit 7.9% in the first quarter of 2007 against 5% in the same period last year and 6.7% in the fourth quarter of 2006. The growth was chiefly driven by the booming construction industry, manufacturing, and trade, not oil and natural gas - the main source of Russia's export revenues.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank said earlier it expected Russia's GDP to increase more than 7% in 2007.

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