Oil Reserve Funds Post Gains

The value of the country's oil funds rose 5.9 percent to $209 billion in November, the Finance Ministry said.

The National Welfare Fund held 2.1 trillion rubles as of Dec. 1, according to a statement on the ministry's web site Monday. That was equivalent to $76.38 billion, the statement said. The Reserve Fund held 3.66 trillion rubles ($132.6 billion), the statement said.

The country transfers some oil and gas revenue to its sovereign oil funds, which were created after the stabilization fund was split to act as a safeguard in case commodities prices plummet. The price of Urals crude has fallen 67 percent since this year's July 3 high to $47.72 a barrel today.

The government has pledged more than $200 billion to support the economy amid the global financial crisis. As part of the package, officials transferred 340 billion rubles ($12.17 billion) from the welfare fund to state-run Vneshekonombank to provide subordinate loans to banks and buy Russian stocks and bonds.

The oil funds will last for more than three years, Kudrin said on Nov. 26. Russia may be forced to spend more than 1 trillion rubles of the Reserve Fund next year to finance government spending as economic growth slows, he said.

The funds are included in the total value of Russia's international reserves, which have declined 25 percent through Nov. 21 from this year's high of $598.1 billion as the Central Bank spent foreign currency to boost the ruble.