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VEB deputy CEO: Russia’s economic growth in 2017 may be better than forecast

Russia's economic growth may amount to 1% of GDP in 2017

MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. Russia's economic growth may be around 1% of GDP in 2017, which is better than the forecast, VEB Deputy CEO Andrei Klepach said in an interview with TASS during the Gaidar Forum.

"We have opportunities for growth. Maybe this year it will be even bigger than 0.6-0.7%, which is set in the official forecast. This is because the price of oil is now higher. I think it will even be higher than the average $50 per barrel, it may be 55, and about $60 in 2017. Therefore, the growth rate may be closer to 1%," Klepach said.

Oil price may grow to $55-60 per barrel in 2017 and up to $70 a barrel for a short period of time in 2018-2019, Klepach said.

"I think the [oil production cut] agreement will be extended. Countries are interested in prices higher than the current level, considering deficits of their budgets. Therefore the level of $55-60 [per barrel] is fairly sufficient for the market situation to be stable. Higher prices are likely to provoke downward adjustment. I think they may go up to $70 [per barrel] but the decline of oil prices after that is not ruled out. The probability of that is fairly high in 2018-2019," Klepach said.

The Russian budget will receive extra 600-700 bln rubles ($10.1-11.8 bln) from oil prices hike owing to the agreement on oil production cut reached by OPEC and non-OPEC countries, according to Klepach.

If the price is not $40 [per barrel] set in the budget but $50, even considering the ruble growth rate, the budget will receive extra 600-700 bln rubles ($10.1-11.8 bln) or maybe even more," he said.

The additional budget revenues could be used to replenish the Reserve Fund, VEB deputy CEO said.

Klepach also said that Russian currency rate may strengthen to 58-59 rubles per dollar by end of 2017.