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Sanctions cost Russia at least $40 billion

Few positive signs for Russian economy through 2016.

By Daniel J. Graeber

MOSCOW, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Russia stands to lose at least $40 billion because of Western economic sanctions targeting its energy sector, the country's finance minister said Monday.

Oil has shed at least a quarter of its value since June because of slow economic recovery and an increase in production from North American shale. For a Russian economy dependent on oil revenue, sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin's policies in Ukraine have made a difficult market situation worse.

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"What happened for the economy? We lose at least $40 billion a year due to the political sanctions and at least $90 billion - $100 billion annually due to the oil price fall by 30 percent," Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

An early November report from the European Commission said the Russian economy started to show signs of recovery in late 2013, though confidence in the Russian investment climate has evaporated in 2014. Separately, the World Bank said there are "substantial risks" to the Russian economy through 2016.

In early November, the Russian currency hit a new low in response to compounding economic crises.

Kremlin officials have said Russian oil output might be curbed by market mechanisms, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said there would be no increase in state deficits despite sanctions on Russian energy companies.

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Exports of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas accounted for 68 percent of all export revenues for Russia in 2013.

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