Russia's state budget deficit forecast for 2012 has been lowered to 0.3 percent of GDP from an earlier estimated 1.5 percent of GDP, and a zero-deficit budget cannot be ruled out, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Sunday.
"If the economic situation in the country remains without change until the end of the year, I do not rule out that we will have a zero-deficit budget, like last year," the minister told journalists in Washington.
He pointed out that Russia was planning to increase its budget spending by 107 billion rubles ($3.63 billion) in 2012. Part of the money will come from higher budget revenues from sources other than energy exports - these revenues are estimated to rise by 60 billion rubles ($2.03 billion) this year - while the other 47 billion rubles ($1.59 billion) "have been found as a result of funds redirected within the budget", he said.
"It is important that we are not going to spend a kopek from oil and gas export revenues," he said, adding "all revenues from energy exports will either go to the reserve fund or be used to reduce the domestic debt."