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Russia's reserve fund down 11.9% to $100.95 bln in May


MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Reserve Fund dropped by 11.9% to 3.127 trillion rubles ($100.95 billion), and the National Prosperity Fund declined 3% to 2.784 trillion rubles ($89.86 billion) in May, the Finance Ministry said on Monday.

As of May 1, the Reserve Fund stood at 3.551 trillion rubles ($114.62 billion) and the National Prosperity Fund amounted to 2.869 trillion rubles ($92.61 billion).

The Reserve Fund was set up to cushion the federal budget against a fall in oil prices, and the National Prosperity Fund is designed to help the government carry out pension reforms.

Russia's Finance Ministry has said a total of 1.6 trillion rubles will be spent from the Reserve Fund to cover the deficit in the first half of 2009 alone.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin earlier said budget spending had increased in the first quarter as the government allocated additional funds for anti-crisis measures, in particular measures to support the pension system, regional governments and key sectors of the economy, such as the defense complex and the auto industry.

He said the largest budget deficits were expected in the second, third, and possibly fourth quarters, as the government spends more on anti-crisis measures. The minister said the projected 7.4% federal budget deficit in 2009 would be covered by the Reserve Fund.

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