Algiers introduced swingeing measures at the start of 2018 in a bid to slash imports and thus the deficit. But in reality the lion’s share of the improvement in the figures is down to higher oil prices. Algeria’s Saharan Blend crude averaged $70.9/b for January-July 2018, up 39% year-on-year. Earnings from oil and gas were up by a much more modest 15% with export volumes for both continuing the fall seen last year (see tables).

Other than higher prices, something for which Algeria’s policy makers can hardly be credited, the key success in the trade figures is the near 50% rise in non-hydrocarbon revenue. That said, Algeria’s definition of ‘non hydrocarbons’ needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. (CONTINUED - 1266 WORDS)