Bloomberg News

Russian Budget Turns to 3% of GDP Deficit Through February

March 13, 2012

Russia’s budget deficit was 3 percent of gross domestic product through the end of February after revenue declined last month, the Finance Ministry said.

The two-month gap was 245.3 billion rubles ($8.3 billion), the Moscow-based ministry said on its website today. A previously reported shortfall for January was revised to a 27.2 billion ruble surplus, according to the statement.

Rising oil revenue helped Russia achieve a surplus of 0.8 percent of GDP last year. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s government boosted spending pledges in the run-up to the March 4 presidential election, which may cost $160 billion, or 8 percent of projected economic output, over his six-year term, Fitch Ratings said in a March 5 report.

“Lower non-oil and gas revenue partly reflects a usual seasonal pattern, but could be also related to weak industrial sector performance,’’ Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist for Russia and Kazakhstan at ING Groep NV in Moscow, said in an e-mail to clients today. Falling energy revenue “reflects the ‘scissors’ effect of higher ruble flexibility, which despite rising oil prices negatively affects the ruble-denominated flow of revenues.”

The ruble weakened against the dollar, reversing earlier gains, to trade little changed at 29.6350 as of 5:15 p.m. in Moscow.

Spending was 2.1 trillion rubles in the first two months of 2012, or 16.7 percent of the full-year plan, the ministry said. Revenue was 1.9 trillion rubles, or 15.8 percent of the projected total.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Rose in Moscow at rrose10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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