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The growth of the US economy will slow next year, but not enough to prevent a slight increase in inflation, a respected group of forecasters predicted. The National Association for Business Economics estimated the economy will grow by 3.2 percent in 2000, down from the 3.9 percent the association is forecasting for this year. It said inflation at the consumer level is likely to increase to a still-modest 2.5 percent next year, compared with an estimated 2.2 percent rise this year.

Just under $13 billion was invested in Japan by foreign companies in the first half of fiscal 1999-200 - virtually equaling the record for a full year, a new government report said. And the total already may be far higher: The Ministry of Finance said its data do not include equity stakes of less than 10 percent in Japanese companies by foreigners. It said foreign investment in Japan, normally 10 percent of what Japanese invest abroad, has risen to 24 percent this year. The most attractive sectors for foreign investors have been the auto, telecommunications, and financial-services industries, the ministry said.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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