IMF upbeat on Russia

RUSSIA - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed confidence in the Russian economy, which it said is set to weather the downturn in oil prices and global growth.

Russia has long worried about an imminent debt crunch, when heavy repayments fall due in 2003.

These fears have become more acute in recent weeks, as the world economy slowed and the price of oil - a crucial export commodity for Russia - nose-dived.

But on a visit to Moscow, IMF managing director Horst Koehler stressed tha