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The average price of Russia's benchmark Urals blend
The average price of Russia's benchmark Urals blend will not fall below $70 per barrel in 2009 despite the ongoing global financial crisis, Russia's finance minister said on Tuesday.

"We do not think the average price will fall below $70 per barrel next year," Alexei Kudrin said during a meeting of CIS finance ministers.

The global credit crunch, sparked by the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, quickly spread to Asia and Europe leading to record losses on global financial markets and a worldwide liquidity shortage. The crisis sparked fears that declining world demand could push oil prices down.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the country's budget for 2009 would be balanced even with the average oil price of $70 per barrel.

Meanwhile, Kudrin said that Russia was channeling considerable funds accumulated from surplus oil revenues to prop up the financial sector, acting rationally and seeking to avert any crisis situations.

Kudrin said Russia's stock indexes fell 63.7% from October 13, 2007 to October 13, 2008 compared with 66.5% in China and 74.2% in Ukraine.


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