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    Russian finance ministry forecasts GDP growth at 2-3% in 2010

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    The Russian Finance Ministry forecasts that GDP will grow at 2-3% in 2010, the minister said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Finance Ministry forecasts that GDP will grow at 2-3% in 2010, the minister said on Monday.

    "We forecast that GDP will only decline by 2.2% in 2009 and next year it will grow by 2-3%," Alexei Kudrin said, adding, however, that the forecast was based on the current state of the Russian economy.

    Kudrin also said that the Russian government will reduce its interference in the economy no earlier than in three years.

    "We are now increasing our presence in some sectors, including the defense and industrial spheres," Kudrin said, adding that the government was not entering other private sectors and would only increase its stake in the banking sector if required.

    "When markets bounce back and become liquid, the government will cut its share in the economy," Kudrin said.

    Russia's M2 money supply could grow by 20-25% in 2009, the finance minister said.

    "We will have growth of 20-25%, while in developed countries it is under 10% and in China - below 15%," Kudrin said.

    Annual M2 money supply growth ranged from 32% to 60% in 1999-2007.

    M2 money supply, according to the Central Bank's definition, includes total cash in circulation (outside banks) and balances in the domestic currency on the accounts of resident non-financial organizations and individuals.

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