Official CIS Goskomstat data forthe eleven CIS economies in the first quarter of the year show somesuccesses, but most of the economies have still not shaken off theireconomic depressions. (CIS Goskomstat bulletin, Finansovye izvestia, 21 May).
Kyrgyzstan and Georgia led the pack with reported GDP growth of 11 percent,followed by Azerbaijan with 8 percent. Armenia reported 6 percent growth,Uzbekistan 3 percent and Tajikistan 1 percent. Belarus’ reported growth rateof 13 percent cannot be taken seriously. Such a figure is inconsistent withthe fact that Belarus owed Russia US$470 million for unpaid energydeliveries as of 1 April, and reports that an increasing variety of fooditems are disappearing from store shelves in that country. (Minsk EconomicNews, 26 May) In the first quarter Moldova and Russia registered zero GDPgrowth, while Ukraine and Turkmenistan experienced a drop. Even thoughindustrial output has stabilized in countries such as Kazakhstan andMoldova, agricultural output continues to fall there: Meat output was 40-50percent down on the 1997 level in those countries, also in Ukraine and Russia.
Inflation appeared to be under control in all the countries of the region,running at an annual rate of 26 percent in Turkmenistan, 11 percent inArmenia and 10 percent or less in the remaining countries.
SERIES OF MILITARY AND NAVAL EXERCISES IN PROGRESS.