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Russia to run budget deficit for first time in 8 years – minister

  The Russian government approved on Thursday an adjusted draft budget for 2009, foreseeing the first budget deficit in eight years, the economics minister said.

The draft will be sent to parliament for consideration in the near future, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina told a news conference after a government session. The new budget, adjusted in view of the credit crisis, will have a deficit of 7.4% of GDP.

According to the draft, revenue will be down 39% to RUB 6.7 trillion ($201 billion), while spending will rise 7% to RUB 9.6 trillion ($288 billion). The $87 billion deficit will be covered from the Reserve Fund and loans.

Nabiullina also said that capital outflow this year is expected at $80 billion, less than last year’s figure. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last week that net capital outflow in 2009 would not exceed $100 billion, compared to the 2008 figure of $130 billion.

Nabiullina said a draft anti-crisis program will be submitted to the Russian government on April 10. “The forecast has been approved, the program has been taken as a basis for further discussions, and we will have to submit it to the government on April 10,” she said. (