'09 Deficit Could Reach 7% of GDP

Russia's budget deficit is likely to be at least 7 percent of GDP this year, Vedomosti reported Tuesday, citing a government source.

This month, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered that the 2009 budget be recalculated at an average oil price of $41 per barrel, less than half the original estimate.

Vedomosti reported that in such a scenario, spending is seen at 9.4 trillion to 9.6 trillion rubles, a touch higher than the original estimates. Revenues, however, are seen nearly one-third lower than first projected, at 6.5 trillion rubles.

Based on the Economic Development Ministry's forecasts of gross domestic product at 41.5 trillion rubles ($1.26 trillion), that means a deficit of around 2.9 trillion rubles ($88 billion) -- in line with estimates from Central Bank Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev.