Algeria: Forex Below $80bn

Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen below $80bn for the first time since December 2006. Speaking on 2 February, prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia said reserves had fallen to just $78.9bn as of end-January, down from an end-2017 figure of $97.3bn and a peak of $195bn in 2013 (see chart, MEES, 11 January ). Whilst acknowledging the situation as “worrying,” the Algerian authorities favored remedy is unorthodox – Mr Ouyahia insists that only the central bank decision to print more money has saved Algeria from “a grave crisis.” Algeria’s oil output is falling (see p5); gas output has edged higher in recent years ( MEES, 7 September 2018 ) but export revenues are down as domestic consumption rises whilst prices in Algeria’s core European market come under pressure from soaring US LNG exports. (CONTINUED - 125 WORDS)