According to figures from HCMC Statistics Department in the first 9 months of this year, the city industrial production continuously grew 11.3% in the second quarter over the first quater and 2% in the third quarter against the second quarter. Compared with the same quarter of 1999, the first quarter of this year grew 13.1%, the second quarter 16.2 % and the third quarter 16.4%. In general, the 9-month city industry had a total value of 40.230 biilion VND equal to 73.5 % compared with the whole year plan and increased 15.3%against the same period of 1999.
1/Do increase and grow in this paragraph have the same meaning and are they interchangeable? If not, what is the difference in meaning btw them?
2/Is equal here an adjectif?