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"The Russian economy is extremely strong"

Russia's economy expanded by 8.5% in the first quarter, exceeding market expectations

Russia's economy expanded by 8.5% in the first quarter, exceeding market expectations as soaring commodity prices and domestic demand boosted growth in the resource-rich country, Cbonds.info reports.

First-quarter growth in Russia, which boasts one of the best performing emerging equity markets, surpassed market expectations of 8%. However, the figure marked a slowdown from the 9.5% growth rate Russia posted in the fourth quarter of 2007.

"The Russian economy is extremely strong," said Julian Mayo, co-manager of U.S. Global Investors Eastern European Fund.

"People are scrambling to upgrade their commodity-price forecasts. Domestic demand remains very strong."