Experts of the International Monetary Fund hold that the Russian economy in 2002 can survive reduction in oil prices to $16.5 a barrel and even below, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Thursday. He said an IMF mission that worked in Moscow came to the conclusion that Russia has a good economic basis for minimising possible consequences of oil price cuts. The IMF's estimates of possible oil prices next year are "close" to Russia's estimates, Kudrin said. "There are still steady forecasts in Russia that the national economy will grow," he said. He pointed out that, even if oil prices fall to $12 a barrel, as expected by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Russia will still be able to pay its foreign debts.
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