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Russia raises 2008 crude price forecast to $74 per barrel

 Russia's economics ministry has upwardly revised its Urals blend crude price projection for 2008 from $53 to $74 per barrel, a ministry official said on Monday.

Andrei Klepach, head of a macroeconomic forecasting department, said the average crude price would be $62 per barrel by 2010, even if prices fell.

"This will significantly increase budget revenues," he said.

The Economic Department and Trade Ministry also revised upwards the country's GDP growth in 2007 from 7.6% to 7.7-7.8%.

"GDP grew 8.4% in December 2007 compared with December 2006. This figure made it possible to adjust 2007 GDP growth to 7.7-7.8% from 7.6%," Minister Elvira Nabiullina said at a government meeting with the Russian president.

Russia's economic growth in 2007 has proved to be the highest in recent years and this trend will persist in 2008, with GDP expected to grow 7.5%, experts said.

In the past five years, the Russian economy has grown at an annual rate of above 7%, except for 2005, when GDP expanded 6.4%. In 2006, GDP grew 7.4%.

The global economic crisis is unlikely to affect Russia considerably as Russia's economic growth is increasingly based on domestic demand, experts said.

RIA Novosti

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