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    Russia cuts oil export duty to $156.4 per ton from April 1 - 1

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    MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will cut the oil export duty by $23.3, to $156.4 per metric ton, from April 1, a Finance Ministry official said Thursday.

    A decline in oil prices that began late last year and has continued into 2007 has prompted the government to adjust crude price and economic growth forecasts and cut oil export duties.

    Alexander Sakovich, deputy head of the ministry's tax and customs policy department, said the oil export duty is adjusted every two months and is based on Russian Urals oil blend prices on world markets.

    The current crude export duty set February 1 stands at $179.7 per metric ton, the official said.

    The Finance Ministry earlier said the oil price forecast for 2007 had been reduced from $61 to $55 per barrel, and the forecasts would also be reduced from $56 to $53 per barrel in 2008, and from $52 to $50 in 2009.

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