Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Russia confirms recession to come

Oil field in Siberia
The falling price of oil has reduced Russian revenues

Russia is headed for a recession, the country's deputy economy minister, Andrei Klepach, has said.

Asked whether Russia would have a recession, he said:"It's started already. I'm afraid it will not be over in the next two quarters."

"A major drop began in October and there will also be drops in November-December," he said, according to official reports.

Recessions are normally declared after two quarters of negative growth.

He also said that full-year economic growth for 2008 would be lower than the 6.8% previously forecast.

Russia - reliant on metals and oil - has been hit by tumbling oil prices and falling demand for commodities

Its economy grew by 8.1% in 2007, helped by soaring oil and metals prices.

The price of oil hit a high of $147 a barrel earlier this year, but it is now languishing below $50.

Russia's stock markets have plunged in recent months and the central bank has spent billions of dollars trying to support the rouble.

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