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    Russia's Stabilization Fund to reach $158 bln by Jan. - Kudrin

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    Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday that the Stabilization Fund is expected to reach 3.836 trillion rubles ($158 billion) as of January 1.

    MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday that the Stabilization Fund is expected to reach 3.836 trillion rubles ($158 billion) as of January 1.

    The Stabilization Fund was set up to accrue surplus revenues from high world oil prices, and has also been used to repay foreign debt.

    From 2008, the Stabilization Fund will be divided into the Reserve Fund and the National Prosperity Fund. The Reserve Fund, expected to total 10% of Russia's GDP, will cushion the federal budget in the event of an oil price plunge. Oil and gas revenues above this limit will supplement current budget spending and will go to the National Prosperity Fund.

    Kudrin said Russia's budget surplus this year is expected to be 1.7 trillion rubles ($71 billion), or roughly 7% of GDP.

    A senior Kremlin economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, earlier said the budget surplus could hit 900 billion rubles ($37 billion) in 2007.

    The finance chief, who is also a deputy prime minister, also announced that the Russian Central Bank's gold and foreign currency reserves will grow by a record figure of around $150 billion in 2007.

    The reserves gained $7.3 billion to an all-time high of $455.2 billion in the week of November 2-9, the Central Bank said on November 15.

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