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Algeria has been rapidly drawing down its foreign currency reserves: from $194bn at the start of July 2014, just before oil prices started to slide, to $143bn at the end of 2015 and $137bn at the end of May (see chart).
Speaking on 15 June, Prime Minister ‘Abd al-Malik Sillal said that he expected that the country’s forex reserves would fall further to around $116bn be the end of 2016 (see chart).
This is some $27bn down on the end-2015 figure, a rate of depletion that, if it continued, would see the country’s reserves exhausted in early 2021.
But Mr Sillal says that there is no chance of this happening: the country’s reserves “won’t fall below $100bn… whatever the circumstances,” state news agency APS reports him as saying. Scant evidence has been given for this optimism, save plans to cut spending that have so far not amounted to much.
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