Russian State Debt Lowest Among G8 Countries – Putin

Russia’s state debt is the lowest among the G8 group of the world’s leading economies and is less than 10 percent of the country’s GDP, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“We have a debt of less than 10 percent (of GDP), of which foreign debt is only slightly above 2 percent of GDP,” Putin said in his final report as prime minister to the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament.

Government debt globally increased 14 percent in 2008-2011, according with IMF estimates. Sovereign debt stands at almost 90 percent of GDP in the eurozone and exceeds 100 percent in the United States, Putin said.

The sovereign debt of Italy totals 100 percent, Japan 226 percent and China’s state external debt has reached almost 27 percent of GDP, Putin said.

Russia has fully recovered from the crisis and avoided a debt trap, keeping its national currency and the budget system stable. Russia’s state debt to GDP ratio is the lowest not only among the G8 Group but also among the G20 Group of advanced and emerging market economies and the BRICS member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Putin said.

Putin said Russia had become the sole country among the G8 group that posted a deficit-free budget in 2011 and even registered a slight budget surplus.

“The budget surplus amounted to almost 1 percent (0.8 percent). We don’t need to beg with an outstretched hand,” Putin said.

In comparison, Putin cited the budget deficit in the G8 group, which totaled 8.7 percent of GDP in the United States, 8.9 percent in Japan, 5.7 percent in France and 5 percent in Canada.

Russia’s international reserves mostly including gold and foreign currency topped $500 billion as of April 1, the third largest in the world, Putin said.

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