MOSCOW, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Even with crude oil prices holding relatively stable, a former finance minister in Russia said it will be tough for the oil-based economy to hit 2017 targets.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the federal budget was based on oil priced at around $40 per barrel, about $10 per barrel less than the current level. Central Bank Gov. Elvira Nabiullina said the rate of inflation is expected to be close to its low-end outlook of around 5.5 percent this year and the International Monetary Fund said there are prospects for "modest" recovery starting in 2017.
Alexei Kudrin, the director of Russia's Center for Strategic Research and a former finance minister, was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying, meanwhile, the budget deficit for this year could be as high as 3.9 percent of gross domestic product.
"The plan for next year is 3.1 percent, which will be difficult to fulfill," he said.
Inflation, however, was running below the target rate, according to the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. GDP, however, contracted 0.7 percent on annual terms, but down 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for September.
Last month, the Central Bank of Russia cut its lending rate for the second time this year, adding that it's possible the economy moves out of recession this year. Growth in gross domestic product won't be any stronger than 1 percent next year, however.
Sanctions and lower crude oil prices put pressure on the Russian economy, though the government expects investments in the oil sector to expand.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak last month met with his counterparts from major oil-producing countries to review strategies to prop up oil prices by pulling the market back into a healthy balance between supply and demand. A proposal from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to put a ceiling on production levels has so far not evolved into concrete arrangements, however.