1 Dec 2009 15:11

Econ Ministry: GDP growth in 2010 will most likely equal 2.5%-3.0%

LONDON. Dec 1 (Interfax) - The Economic Development Ministry believes GDP growth in 2010 will most likely total 2.5%-3.0%.

"The forecast for GDP in 2010 is 1%-1.1% at a minimum, more realistically - 2.5%-3.0%," Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said at a banking forum in London.

"The overall forecast for Russia next year looks more optimistic than we thought," Klepach said. The potential for growth is "significantly higher than 3%-4%," he said, adding that "growth of 4%-6% is fairly realistic, but requires serious structural shifts in the economy."

The Econ Ministry's official forecast, approved by the government in September, is currently for GDP to grow 1.6% in 2010, 3% in 2011 and 4.3% in 2012.

Klepach said the ministry would submit its adjusted economic forecast for 2009-2012 to the government by December 10.

Analysts told Interfax at the end of November that they thought GDP would grow 2.5% in 2010.

Klepach said the main risks in the medium term included a wave of unemployment at the end of this year or early next year.

He also said there was a "huge gap between interest rates and profitability." "Unless we can erase that gap there is no question of sustainable growth. Interest rates of 14%-15% make our whole industry uncompetitive," he said.