Russia ran a budget surplus in March, narrowing the three-month fiscal gap to 0.9 percent of gross domestic product, the Finance Ministry said.
The cumulative deficit shrank to 121.3 billion rubles ($4.1 billion) in March, from a revised 199.7 billion rubles a month earlier, the Moscow-based ministry said on its website today, citing preliminary data.
Russia, which depends on energy exports for half of budget revenues, may run a budget surplus this year, even after spending pledges by President-elect Vladimir Putin’s that Fitch Ratings estimates at $160 billion over his six-year term, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said April 3. The economy grew 4.3 percent last year, the same pace as in 2010, as oil prices surged. Higher energy revenue pushed the federal budget into a surplus of 0.8 percent of economic output in 2011.
The average crude oil price needed to balance the budget will drop from $117 a barrel this year to $113 next year and $107 in 2014, the government estimates. The budget deficit is predicted to narrow to 0.7 percent of GDP in 2014, from a projected 1.5 percent shortfall this year. Next year’s budget gap is forecast at 1.6 percent.
Urals crude oil, Russia’s chief export blend, has gained 13 percent to $119.63 a barrel in the three months through March and traded at $117.28 today.
Revenue totaled 3 trillion rubles at the end of March, or 25.2 percent of the government’s target for the year, while spending was 3.1 trillion rubles, or 24.4 percent of the goal, according to the Finance Ministry.
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