Algeria's foreign exchange reserves are expected to have lost $82 billion in three years as a result of the fall in petrol prices, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said yesterday.
Speaking during an annual meeting of public sector trade union and the General Workers' Union, Sellal said he expected reserves to be $96 billion by early July.
"The country's foreign exchange reserves currently stand at around $112 billion," adding that the government plans to achieve economic growth of 3.9 per cent during the current year 2017 as well as to reduce consumer price inflation to four per cent. According to Sellal inflation currently stands at about eight per cent.
With regards to curbing imports, Sellal said: "Algeria will not prevent the import of any product, but will work to rationalise public spending without hurting purchasing power."
He pointed out that this policy has lowered the cost of imports from $66 billion last year to $35 billion earlier this year, pointing out that the government aims to reduce the value of imports to $30 billion by the end of 2017.
Economy-oriented loans will rise this year to $102 billion, after it reached $81 billion last year, Sellal explained.
Algeria, a member of the organization OPEC and one of the most important suppliers of gas to Europe depends on energy revenues to fund 60 per cent of its general budget. Oil and gas exports, constitutes 95 per cent of the country's total exports.