State borrowing grew by 11.6% between January and September © Getty Images / Bloomberg Creative

Russia’s state debt grew by 11.6% in the first nine months of the year as the government borrowed funds to plug a budget gap, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

State borrowing between January and September soared, with debt reaching 17% of Russia’s GDP, data showed.

Officials pointed out that even with a noticeable rise, national debt remains below 20% of GDP, placing Russia among the countries with the lowest level of state arrears. By comparison, state debt in the US and Italy exceeds 100% of GDP, while in Japan it stands at 260%.

According to economists, Russia’s public debt growth remains moderate due to a low budget deficit, as the country continues to invest in major projects and industries despite unprecedented sanctions pressure from the West.

Increased state borrowing has helped Russia halve its budget deficit, the Finance Ministry has reported.

Russia’s budget gap has narrowed and will be significantly lower than previous government expectations as energy revenues and the broader economy have recovered, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said earlier this month.

According to the latest estimates, the budget gap will total 1% of GDP this year, significantly lower than earlier projections which placed the deficit at 2.9 trillion rubles ($32.8 billion), or 2% of GDP.

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