Oleksandr Savchenko, deputy governor of Ukraine's central bank, said at a Financial Times conference in London yesterday that the gas price dispute with Russia and hotly disputed upcoming parliamentary elections were raising fears over the country's growth prospects, the Financial Times informed Wednesday.

He said there would be no official growth forecasts for 2006 until later in the year. Ukraine has seen a sharp increase in gas import prices since a new Russian deal at the start of the year, which led to parliament sacking the government in a move president Victor Yushchenko ignored.

Savchenko said his estimate for gross domestic product growth in 2006 was 4 to 5 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent last year.

But Volodymyr Ignasenko, deputy economy minister, said he expected 2.5 %to 3 % other ministers have put the figure at 2 per cent and the World Bank has predicted 1.5-2 %


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