Russia is out of recession: report

MOSCOW: Russia is out of recession and its economy will grow by two percent in the fourth quarter owing to a rise in oil prices, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"We now see that the Russian economy is starting to grow... it is out of recession," Kudrin told the Interfax news agency.

"In the fourth quarter, we already expect growth above two percent, mainly due to rising oil prices," he added.

"As long as oil prices range between 70 and 80 dollars per barrel, there will be growth," the finance minister said, claiming any drop off would be a result of market "speculation."

Kudrin said that is why the government had made its growth forecasts based on oil prices remaining at 58 to 60 dollars -- oil accounts for around 60 percent of Russia's total exports.

The Russian economy, which is also driven by exports of gas and other commodities, was badly hit by the global financial crisis after enjoying years of strong growth but officials have said the worst of the crisis might be over.

Earlier this month, Medvedev said the country's gross domestic product would shrink 7.5 percent this year, while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has put the expected decline at around eight percent.