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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Budget Deficit Jumps to 3.3% Of GDP, Largest Since 1998

Russia's budget deficit widened last month to the equivalent of 3.3 percent of gross domestic product as the government spent 369.8 billion rubles ($11.5 billion) more than it collected.

Revenue in the period was 2.2 trillion rubles, or 33.1 percent of the amount the government planned for 2009, while spending was 2.6 trillion rubles, or 26.5 percent of forecasted expenditure, the Finance Ministry said on its web site today, citing preliminary figures. The deficit was the biggest since at least Jan. 31, 1998, according to Bloomberg data.

Russia will post a budget shortfall this year as a lack of credit stifled growth and revenue plunged after the global recession slowed demand for oil, gas and metals. The government expects revenue to shrink 30 percent this year, and the gap may rise to more than the official estimate of 7.4 percent of gross domestic product.

The country may seek billions of dollars in loans from the World Bank to cover the expected deficit of at least 3 percent of GDP in the next three years, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

Russia, the world's biggest energy exporter, needs oil prices to average a minimum of $100 a barrel in 2009 and $87 in 2010 to balance its budget, Elina Ribakova, Citigroup Inc.'s chief economist in Moscow, said in a report last month.

"Should oil prices turn around, the positive effect on the budget is likely to be limited by the expected sharp fall in growth, and therefore a higher minimum oil price is needed to balance the budget," Ribakova wrote.

Urals crude oil, Russia's chief export earner, was at $56.19 a barrel on Thursday.

Russia's stimulus package is the highest in the Group of 20 industrial and developing countries, totaling 4.1 percent of GDP, the International Monetary Fund said on April 27.