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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Passes 2007 Budget in Final Reading

The State Duma on Friday approved the fourth and final reading of the draft 2007 budget, which assumes world oil prices will remain high in an election year and foresees a 25 percent spending increase.

Speaking after the bill's passage, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin warned that if oil prices did not continue to rise, the budget could see its surplus evaporate, RIA-Novosti reported.

"There won't be any additional revenues -- it will be a challenge to meet the plan," he was quoted as saying.

World oil prices have tumbled some 23 percent after hitting an all-time trading high above $78 per barrel in mid-July.

The budget is based on an average oil price in 2007 of $61 for Russia's Urals blend, which trades at a discount. Kudrin noted that Urals currently cost about $56 per barrel.

Deputies voted 348-91 with no abstentions in favor of the bill. The draft predicts revenues of 6.97 trillion rubles ($263 billion) and anticipates a budget surplus of 1.5 trillion rubles ($57 billion), or 4.8 percent of gross domestic product.

Spending is earmarked at 5.46 trillion rubles ($206 billion), up 25 percent from 2006.

Light sweet crude for January delivery rose 7 cents Friday to $59.25 a barrel in Asian trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.