Russia Amasses Record Budget Surplus In First Half Of 2005

Russia recorded a record budget surplus of 726 billion rubles (US$25.2 billion, 20.8 billion euros) in the first half of 2005, with government coffers boosted by record oil prices and tax settlements from Russian companies, preliminary figures from the ministry of finance showed on July 11.

The figure is greater than the surplus for the whole of 2004 of $24.5 billion.

Government receipts totaled 2,393.1 billion rubles, 46% higher than expected. Yukos, formerly Russia's largest oil company, contributed 151.5 billion rubles to the budget after settling a backdated tax claim from the Russian authorities. Spending totaled 1,657.1 billion rubles which was in line with revised government forecasts.

Russia's so-called stability fund, an accumulation of tax receipts from oil activities intended for use in future economic downturns, totaled 617.9 billions rubles after the transfer of 430.1 billion rubles to pay down some of Russia's debt to the Club of Paris group of creditor nations. Moscow reached an agreement with the Club of Paris last May to pay back a third of its $40 billion debt in order to reduce its future interest payments.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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