ALGIERS: Algeria posted a trade deficit of $4.84 billion in the first half of 2017, down 54.1 percent from a year earlier, due to better energy earnings, but its imports bill remained high despite restrictions, official data showed on Sunday. The deficit decline pushed up the coverage of imports by exports to 79 percent from 56 percent in the January-June period of 2016, according to customs figures. Oil and gas exports, which accounted for 95 percent of total sales abroad, rose 38.3 percent to $17.19 billion in the first six months of 2017. The value of overall exports rose 36.2 percent year-on-year to $18.14 billion, while imports fell 3.8 percent to $22.98 billion, the figures showed.
As part of broader reforms to tackle the fall in revenues and cut public spending, the government approved import restrictions since global crude oil prices started falling in mid-2014, a drop that has significantly hit the state finances. It aims to cut imports by $15 billion in 2017 from last year’s $46.72 billion and expects energy revenues to reach $35 billion compared with $27.5 billion in 2016.