The Moscow Region has taken the lead over Moscow in terms of direct foreigninvestments in the industrial sector, Moscow Regional Governor Boris Gromovdeclared at a news conference today. He pointed out that the largest ratingagency S&P had assigned a B- credit rating (with a "positive" forecast) tothe Moscow Region recently for liabilities in foreign currency. Accordingto the governor, the positive forecast for the rating "is based on theregion's intentions to increase the level of transparency and the qualityof debt management in general, as well as on a continuing growth in budgetrevenues due to a growth in the economy and investments."According to Gromov, experts of the rating agency remarked that the MoscowRegion was one of the three regions of Russia where the largest amounts oftaxes were collected. Thus, about 4% of all taxes collected in Russia inJanuary-June 2002 were collected in the Moscow Region. Gromov added thatthe assignment of such a high S&P rating to the Moscow region was also dueto the fact that the region's debts had been substantially reduced. Theregion's direct debt amounted to 6% of the current revenues in 2001. .