Algeria's trade deficit deepens as energy revenue falls

The value of oil and gas exports accounted for 92.4 per cent of total overseas sales

Algerians buy pastries in the capital Algiers on June 7, 2020, after authorities eased some restrictions put in place in a bid to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.  / AFP / RYAD KRAMDI

Algeria's energy earnings fell almost 26 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, pushing up the trade deficit by just over 26 per cent 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 value of oil and gas exports, which accounted for 92.4 per cent of total sales abroad, stood at $7.04 billion (Dh25.85bn), down from $9.48bn in the first three months of 2019, customs data showed.

That pushed up the trade deficit to $1.5bn from $1.19bn in the first quarter of last year.

Overall exports stood at $7.62bn in January-March 2020 against $10.14bn in the same period a year earlier, while imports fell 19.52 per centto $9.12bn in the first three months of this year.