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Former USSR: IMF Projects Economic Growth At Three Percent

Washington, 23 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says economic growth should resume for all the countries in East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union this year, averaging three percent for all the nations in transition.

The fund, in its World Economic Outlook report released today, says that in 1998, growth for the group as a whole should rise to 4.8 percent. It projects world output growth this year and next at 4.4 percent, with the major industrial nations expecting average growth of 2.9 percent in both 1997 and 1998.

The report says that the gap between the transition nations which implemented early and strong reforms and those which have lagged is growing, but that there has been progress generally across the board.

In its forecasts for this year and next, it projects economic growth this year for Central and Eastern Europe at 3 percent, but if Belarus and Ukraine are removed from the list, the growth figure projection rises to 3.3 percent this year.

For 1998, removing Belarus and Ukraine from the region makes no difference in the projected 4.7 percent growth for this group, however. Also in 1998, Russia, the Transcaucasus and Central Asia taken together are projected to have output growth of 4.9 percent.