Algeria: Forex Down Again, On Track For $20bn Deficit

Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves fell to just $121.9bn at end-September, down from $129bn three months earlier and $178.9bn at end-2014, central bank governor Muhammad Lukal this week told parliament.

The country is on track to run a $20bn trade deficit this year, with export earnings (94% of which from oil and gas) covering just 57% of the cost of imports, based on January-September figures.

Despite this, Mr Lukal insists that the external financial situation remains “relatively comfortable” given Algeria’s low external debt of $3.1bn, or 1.3% of GDP. Mr Lukal projects this will fall further to $2.9bn at the end of 2016. The value of the Algerian Dinar has lost ground in 2016 falling some 20% to $1=AD110. The rate of decline in Algeria’s reserves has edged lower in recent months with the modest rebound in oil prices. The mid and end-2015 figures were down $35bn on a year earlier – implying that reserves would be exhausted by the end of 2019 – the latest figures are down by ‘only’ $31bn. And the trade outlook has also ‘improved’ modestly in recent months: first half 2016 figures indicated an expected annual deficit of $23bn (MEES 12 August). (CONTINUED - 374 WORDS)

DATA INSIDE THIS ARTICLE

table Algeria: Latest Trade Figures Indicate 2016 Oil & Gas Export Earnings Down 58% From 2014