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    Russia's capital outflow expected to hit $90-91 bln in 2009

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    Capital outflow from Russia is expected to continue, and hit $90-91 billion next year, a deputy economics minister said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - Capital outflow from Russia is expected to continue, and hit $90-91 billion next year, a deputy economics minister said on Thursday.

    Andrei Klepach said Russia's international reserves are expected to decline $110-140 billion amid the ongoing global financial crisis, but remain above $300 billion.

    Russia's Central Bank announced on Thursday that its international reserves, which hold foreign exchange and gold, stood at $435.4 billion as of December 12, down $1.6 billion against $437 billion on December 5.

    International reserves declined $28.9 billion in November, $71.5 billion in October, $25.6 billion in September and $14.3 billion in August. The reserves had been increasing in the months prior to August.

    Inflation in Russia in 2009 could drop to 10-12% from the economics ministry's revised 2008 forecast of 13.4%, Klepach said.

    Russia is expected to keep its foreign trade balance favorable at $18 billion, with $303 billion in exports and $283 billion in imports, Klepach said.

    In its macroeconomic forecast for next year, the ministry also said that crude exports from Russia were expected to decline 3.8%, year-on-year, in 2009 to 235 million metric tons (1.7 billion barrels).

    Natural gas exports from Russia are expected to grow from 203 billion cubic meters in 2008 to 208 billion cubic meters in 2009, the ministry said.

    Russia's oil production is expected to decline 1.6%, year-on-year, in 2009 to 480 million metric tons (3.5 billion barrels) while natural gas output is likely to increase 0.7% to 670 billion cubic meters, the economics ministry said.

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