MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian finance minister said Thursday that he forecasted the average Urals price to reach $55 per barrel in 2006. Alexei Kudrin said, "Yesterday the Economic Development and Trade Ministry made a new forecast, which sets the average [Urals] price at $51 [per barrel] but we believe that it may be higher at $55."
He said in the beginning of 2006 the price had already grown to $59 per barrel, exceeding the forecasts made during the drafting of the federal budget.
Kudrin said the federal budget had contained the original forecast of the average oil price on the world markets at $40 per barrel but the forecast had been later raised to $45 and $48.
The minister also said high oil prices would cause a major currency inflow to the country, which meant the Central Bank would have to stabilize the real effective rate of the ruble. He added that monetary supply exceeded demand in Russia, which spurred inflation.