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Algeria: Trade Gap Reached $1.5bln in Q1 2020, up 26% YoY

Algeria’s trade balance experienced a deficit of 1.5 billion dollars during the 1st quarter of 2020, against $1.19 billion in the same period in 2019, up 26.21%. Figures were provided by the Directorate of Customs (DGD). 

Export revenues during the period reviewed slid by 24.85% to $7.62 billion, against $10.14 billion in Q1 2019. Hydrocarbons accounted for 92.40% of exports and generated $7.04 billion, down 25.78% compared with the $9.48 billion in Q1 2019. Non-oil revenues reached $578.7 million in Q1 2020, compared with $658.04 million in Q 2019.

Import revenues over the period reached $9.12 billion, down 19.52% compared with the $11.3 billion generated in Q1 2019.

The export/import coverage ratio dropped by 6 points to 83.5% between the two periods. Algeria’s major buyers in Q1 2020 were Italy ($1.17 billion), France ($1bln), Turkey ($705.03 million), Spain ($627.8 million), and China ($417.2 million).

The main suppliers over the period were China ($1.55 billion), France ($951.9 million), Italy ($741.7 million), Spain ($570.3 million), and Germany ($558.7 million).

Algeria’s trade with the United States fell 49.65 percent, from $817.54 million to $411.62 million through the first three months of 2020 when compared to the same period the previous year, as indicated by the WorldCity analysis of latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

Algeria’s Customs revenue stood at 270.35 billion dinars during the first quarter of 2020, compared to 267.33 billion dinars in the same period of last year, thus recording a slight increase of 1.13%, the Directorate General of Customs (DGD) told APS on Monday.

While the overall balance of payments deficit fell by almost 57% during the first quarter of 2020, down from $ 5.9 billion to $ 2.5 billion in the same quarter of 2019, said a statement of the Bank of Algeria in a statement.

The Algerian economy

Algeria’s economic freedom score is 46.9, making its economy the 169th freest in the 2020 Index. Its overall score has increased by 0.7 point due to an improvement in the property rights score.

The country’s economy is dominated by its export trade in petroleum and natural gas, commodities that, despite fluctuations in world prices, annually contribute roughly one-third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s main crude grade is the Sahara blend, which is a blend of crudes produced at fields in the Hassi Messaoud region.

Algeria’s energy earnings fell almost 26 percent in the first quarter of 2020, pushing up the trade deficit by just over 26 percent from the same period last year, the government said on Sunday.

The North African country has been trying to reduce spending on imports to cope with a drop in energy revenue due to lower global crude oil prices.

The bulk of Algeria’s wealth in manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and trade was controlled by the grands colons. The biggest exports in Algeria are either mined or manufactured in the country. Agriculture plays a comparatively minor role in the country’s overall economy.

The vast majority of highly profitable mining or manufacturing concerns are owned and operated by the government and Algeria’s government also oversees the instituting of economy-related laws and other necessary planning.

Algeria’s industrial sector continues to be characterized by large and inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The correlation between reducing restrictions on foreign trade and the development of clandestine operations to smuggle legal goods leads to an environment that facilitates human trafficking, the drug trade, and other problems.

The modern European-owned and -managed sector of the economy centered around small industry and a highly developed export trade, designed to provide food and raw materials to France in return for capital and consumer goods.

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