(Adds quotes, context)
By Darya Korsunskaya
SOCHI, Russia, Sept 30 Russia's federal budget
deficit could hit 3.5-3.7 percent of gross domestic product this
year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday, a sign
that low oil prices are continuing to hurt the
Buffeted by Western sanctions and lower oil revenues, the
Russian government is struggling to plug holes in the budget and
revive an economy stuck in a deep slump.
Finance ministry officials had previously said they hoped to
limit the deficit to 3.2 percent of GDP. President Vladimir
Putin said this week that the size of the budget deficit was
acceptable for now.
Siluanov said Russia would increase domestic borrowing by
200 billion roubles ($3.2 billion) in 2016.
"By the end of the year we will reach the borrowing level
that we must stick to next year, we will borrow around 30-40
billion roubles a week," the minister told reporters at an
investment forum in Sochi, southern Russia.
He said his ministry would include the privatisation of
state stakes in oil firms Rosneft and Bashneft
in amended budget plans for this year that are set to
be submitted for government discussion next month.
If stakes in those firms were not sold to investors this
year, Russia would spend more of its reserves, he said.
Under amended budget proposals, the finance ministry was so
far sticking to spending 2.1 trillion roubles from the Reserve
Fund this year, he said.
($1 = 63.2929 roubles)
(Writing by Alexander Winning and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by