Russian deficit at 4.3 percent in 2010: finance minister

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Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Saturday the country's deficit would be 4.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, higher than the figure announced by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"An increase in revenue this year allows us to lower our estimate of budgetary deficit to 4.3 percent from 4.6 percent," Russian news agencies quoted Kudrin as telling Putin during a meeting.

On Thursday, during his annual marathon phone-in, Putin said the deficit would be between 3.5 to 3.8 percent of GDP.

In the meeting with Kudrin, Putin asked why certain government departments had provided him with different figures.

"I think they were mistaken," said Kudrin.

Russia's public finances dipped into the red in 2009 with a deficit of 5.9 percent of GDP, primarily due to a fall in oil and gas prices, the corner stone of the national economy.

© 2010 AFP

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