Budget Seen Coping With $50 Oil

Russia has sufficient reserves to ensure that its budget will not be affected even if the price of oil falls as low as $50 per barrel, Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin said Monday.

The price of Russia's main crude blend, Urals, has fallen by more than 20 percent in the past two months to about $104 per barrel, though it is still above the $82 rate factored into the current federal budget.

"I don't think that [$82] is too optimistic. But still we have enough reserve in our budget if the oil price drops to $50 to $60," Pankin said.

Asked whether the government would be prepared to spend its Reserve Fund to plug any holes left in the budget by falling revenue from the energy sector, Pankin replied, "Yes."

"In that case there will be more a question that the [fund] will not grow according to our projections," he said.