From Bloomberg.

Russia’s deficit goal is in jeopardy this year after crude resumed its selloff, leaving the government few options to stabilize public finances, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

“The new fall in oil prices poses significant difficulties for achieving the targeted 3 percent federal deficit,” Kristin Lindow, senior vice president at the credit-ratings company, said in e-mailed comments. The fiscal goal “reflects the government’s limited financing options after using almost half of its accumulated savings in the Reserve Fund last year and the constraints posed by international sanctions.”

Taking stock of the budget, hobbled by oil’s collapse to the lowest in more than 12 years, Russia is already extending an austerity drive that’s without precedent during President Vladimir Putin’s 16 years in power. The Reserve Fund, one of the nation’s two sovereign wealth coffers, shrank almost by half since its 2014 high, and authorities risk depleting it by the end of the year, according to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

Russia, which gets almost half its budget revenue from oil and gas, is on track for its second year of recession, leaving the government to straddle the line between offering some relief to the economy without further compromising its finances. While Putin had signed into law a 2016 budget based on an average oil price of $50 a barrel and the deficit at 3 percent of gross domestic product, the Finance Ministry is considering different scenarios for this year.

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