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    Russia's Reserve Fund shrinks threefold year on year

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    Russia's Reserve Fund, set up to accrue windfall revenues from oil exports, shrank 67% as of May 1, 2010 year-on-year to 1.19 trillion rubles ($40.6 billion), a business daily reported on Wednesday.

     Russia's Reserve Fund, set up to accrue windfall revenues from oil exports, shrank 67% as of May 1, 2010 year-on-year to 1.19 trillion rubles ($40.6 billion), a business daily reported on Wednesday.

    The Russian government is still using the Reserve Fund, which was accumulated before the global financial and economic crisis struck Russia in 2008, to cover its budget deficit, Kommersant said, referring to data from the Finance Ministry.

    In April 2010 alone, 350 billion rubles ($11.9 billion) were spent from the fund. If such spending rates continue, the Reserve Fund will be completely depleted by the end of the year.

    The Finance Ministry started drawing money from the Reserve Fund on a monthly basis in March 2009. A total of 2.96 trillion rubles ($101 billion) were spent on covering the budget deficit in 2009.

    The government plans to spend 1.142 trillion rubles ($38.9 billion) from the Reserve Fund in the first half of 2010, but has not made any longer-term forecasts, Kommersant said.

    Formally, the budget deficit for 2010 is projected at 2.937 trillion rubles ($100 billion) or 6.8% of GDP, which will deplete the fund. However, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last week the ministry was calculating new forecasts to take into account the improving global economic situation and rise in global oil prices.

    MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti)

     

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