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Russian Ministry Forecasts 0.8 Percent Economic Contraction In 2015

Russia has drastically revised its economic forecast for 2015, abandoning its earlier prediction of 1.2 percent growth and instead predicting that gross domestic product will contract by 0.8 percent next year.

Russian Deputy Economy Minister Aleksei Vedev announced the revised economic forecast on December 2.

He said the ministry also cut its forecast for the average oil price in 2015 from $100 to $80 per barrel.

Oil and natural gas are a vital source of income for Russia, accounting for 70 percent of the country’s exports and half of government revenues.

Oil prices have fallen by more than a third since the summer and Russia’s ruble currency has fallen by 40 percent this year.

Russia's economy also is suffering from U.S. and EU sanctions imposed over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and RIA Novosti

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