MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia may lose its investment-grade rating if world oil prices plunge to $80 per barrel and the Russian government continues massive social and defense spending, ex-finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday.
“If the [oil] price is $80 per barrel, the budget deficit will widen to 3 percent of GDP,” Kudrin said.
“The figure of 3 percent is a critical boundary, beyond which we are likely to lose our country’s investment-grade rating,” he said.
Russia’s budget for 2013-2015 will run a deficit even with oil priced at $100 per barrel, he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed the federal budget for 2013 and the 2014-2015 planning period.
Russia’s 2013 budget sets revenues of 12.8 trillion rubles ($414 billion) and expenditures of 13.3 trillion rubles ($430 billion), with a budget deficit of 521.4 billion rubles ($16 billion).
The largest part of Russia’s budget funds in 2013 will be used to finance the government’s social bill, which will amount to almost 4 trillion rubles. The pension system will claim over 2.8 trillion rubles of this amount.
Russia’s defense spending will rise by 25.8 percent next year compared with 2012.