State Budget Surplus Is Down 14%

The government's budget surplus probably shrank 14 percent in November as the state transferred money to new funds intended to make the economy less dependent on energy sales.

The surplus shrank to 6.2 percent of gross domestic product, or 1.8 trillion rubles ($70 billion) in the first 11 months, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on its web site Tuesday. The surplus totaled 8 percent of GDP, or 2.09 trillion rubles, in the first 10 months, the ministry said.

"The surplus shrank because money was transferred to the new development institutions in November," said Yevgeny Nadorshin, chief economist at Trust Bank.

The government wants to make the economy less dependent on energy revenues. It created the state-run Development Bank and the Nanotechnology Corporation this year to boost industries outside of natural resources.

The Development Bank, Nanotechnology Corporation and the Investment Fund received 300 billion rubles ($12.3 billion) from the budget in November, the Finance Ministry's statement said. Revenue totaled 6.89 trillion rubles, or 93 percent of the amount the government planned to receive for the entire year, the statement said, citing preliminary calculations. Government spending reached 78 percent of planned expenditures for 2007, the statement said.

The government expanded its budget surplus for a fourth consecutive year last year. The surplus reached 2 trillion rubles in 2006, up from 1.6 trillion rubles in 2005 as the nation benefited from energy sales. The budget surplus will probably total 1.65 trillion rubles by the year's end, Nadorshin said.