September 4, 2016 / 10:06 AM / 3 years ago

Putin says Russian economy stabilized, pledges budget deficit cuts

Russian President Vladimir Putin sits before the start of the opening ceremony of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Schiefelbein/Pool

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a speech at the G20 summit in China, struck an upbeat tone on the Russian economy, saying it had stabilized, and pledged to cut the country’s budget deficit as well as its dependency on oil and gas exports.

“Our economy has stabilized .... We plan to reduce the budget deficit further, and to continue to work on cutting the budget’s revenues dependency on the exports of hydrocarbons,” Putin said.

Russia’s economy contracted by 3.7 percent in 2015 due to weaker oil prices, the country’s chief commodity export, and international sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian crisis.

According to a forecast by analysts at the central bank, Russia’s economy will show low quarter-on-quarter growth in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

Putin also said the government would continue to work on improving the business climate in Russia.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Kim Coghill and Mark Potter

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