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Algeria: Trade deficit widens as oil earnings drop sharply


Algeria’s energy earnings dropped 40.8 percent in 2015 from the previous year, causing a trade deficit of $13.71 billion after a $4.306 billion surplus in 2014, the Finance Ministry said.

Energy earnings reached $35.72 billion in 2015 against $60.3 billion the previous year, because of the sharp fall in global crude oil prices, according to figures released by the ministry and published by state media on Tuesday.

Oil and gas sales make up 95 percent of Algeria’s exports and account for 60 percent of the country’s budget.

The North African state is considering higher taxes, import duties and a hike in subsidised diesel and electricity prices to help cover its deficit after the slump in crude oil prices eroded its revenues, according to a draft of its 2016 budget.

Algeria is also trying to draw more foreign investment to help increase oil and gas production, which has remained largely stagnant in the past three years.

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