(Adds finance minister's comment, detail)
MOSCOW Jan 13 The recovery in oil prices this
year may help Russia's finance ministry avoid spending all of
its Reserve Fund in 2017, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said
Russia drew up its 2017 budget using an assumed average
crude oil price of $40 per barrel for the year, but prices for
its biggest export are currently well above that. Brent crude
futures, the international benchmark, were trading at $55.81 on
"Will we be able to preserve the Reserve Fund if oil prices
stay at $50 per barrel? We will," Siluanov told reporters on the
sidelines of an economic forum.
If oil prices average $50 per barrel this year Russia will
bring in around 1 trillion roubles in extra revenue, Siluanov
The next spending from the Reserve Fund is scheduled for
March or April, Siluanov said.
Economy minister Maxim Oreshkin also said on Friday that
higher than expected oil prices may help avoid emptying the
country's rainy-day fund.
"We have a very good chance to substantially cut utilisation
of the Reserve Fund," Oreshkin said.
Russia's Reserve Fund fell to $16.03 billion at the start of
2017 from $50 billion in early 2016 as the finance ministry used
the money to plug holes in the country's commodity-dependent
Previously, the finance ministry had said the Reserve Fund,
accumulated over years of high oil prices, was set to be fully
spent this year as Russia aims to lower its budget deficit amid
an economic crisis.
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Alexander Winning and