Russia Oil Revenue Loss Projected at $180b

Russia Oil Revenue Loss Projected at $180bRussia Oil Revenue Loss Projected at $180b

The recent slump in oil prices is expected to result in yearly revenue cuts of $180bn, according to a senior official at the Russian finance ministry.

"Oil price has fallen from 100 dollars to about 50 dollars per barrel. This would result in a decrease in Russian export revenues of 180 billion dollars a year," Maxim Oreshkin, head of the ministry's strategic planning department, told a meeting in the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament.

The country is set to lose about 2.1 trillion roubles (£22b, €30b, $34b), or 14% of planned revenues, only from the taxes, News Now reported.

Earlier, the Russian central bank estimated revenue losses at $160 billion per year, if oil prices remain around $45 per barrel.

Oreshkin noted the only way Russia has to balance its accounts could be by cutting its imports.

"The main task of the government is to alleviate the shock and to help the economy reach a new balance as soon as possible," he said, also pointing out the "spiraling inflation", which recently rose to about 16% in annual terms, as the principal challenge to the economy.

Russia, one of the largest oil producing nations, has been hit by the fall in oil prices, declining by about 50% since June 2014. In addition, the country faces Western sanctions in connection with the political row over Ukraine.

"I cannot rule out that at a certain point, for a very brief period, the price of oil may slump to 20 dollars,"Russia’s former finance minister Aleksey Kudrin said Friday.

Credit rating agency Moody's Investor Service earlier downgraded Russia's sovereign debt to junk status. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov charged that the move was driven by political factors. Moody's cited the conflict in Ukraine, low oil prices and the weakened rouble as reasons for the cut.

Earlier, deputy Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev said that in proposing adjustments to the budget the cabinet of ministers would proceed from a forecast price of 50 dollars per barrel. In that case the federal budget’s deficit will make up 3.8% of the GDP.