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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reserve Fund Goes Untouched in June

The government left its oil-wealth Reserve Fund untouched for a second month in June, data showed Thursday, suggesting that high oil prices were keeping the budget coffers sufficiently full to meet spending demands.

The Reserve Fund stood at 1.23 trillion rubles ($39.5 billion) on July 1, up slightly from 1.2 trillion a month earlier because of a positive foreign exchange rate effect from a weaker ruble, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. The fund's dollar value was stable at $39 billion.

The Reserve Fund — accumulated during nearly a decade of oil-fueled economic expansion — is now propping up the budget, which slipped into the red in 2009 as gross domestic product suffered its biggest contraction in 15 years.

No money, however, has been transferred out of the fund for the past two months. In May, government coffers were boosted by a $5.5 billion eurobond issue as well as tax revenues from high oil prices — which continued in June.

Budget spending tends to be tilted toward the final months of the year, which also means that there is less need for cash in the earlier months.

Russia is expected to run budget deficits until 2015, with this year's gap seen at 5.4 percent of GDP or some 2.4 trillion rubles.

The Reserve Fund was originally expected to run out this year, but higher oil prices as well as government borrowing are now likely to prolong its life into 2011.

The second outlet for Russia's oil revenues, the National Welfare Fund, rose in value to 2.67 trillion rubles, or $86 billion by the start of July.

The fund was initially designed to fund longer-term projects, but in the wake of the crisis, some of the cash has been used to support the domestic stock market and plug a deficit in the state pension fund.