Algeria: Benign neglect is not an option

Algeria: Benign neglect is not an option

Algeria now has a date for its presidential election (12 December) but still does not exhibit any growth per capita. In Q1 2019, GDP expanded by +1.5% y/y, below population growth for the eight quarter in a row. This has put pressures on debt and liquidity ratios. Export growth was hardly above 0% during the past quarters, not allowing for any rebalancing of the trade deficit. And the weak business climate (protectionism, political crisis) did not allow for financing through capital inflows. Thus foreign reserves have continued to decline at a rapid pace, with import cover falling from 16 months at end-2018 to an estimated level of 12 months as of August 2019, based on recent capital flows and trade dynamics. The current political paralysis also means that hardly any efforts of fiscal consolidation will be made, resulting in a fiscal deficit of -7% of GDP per year, financed through money creation, but without avoiding higher public debt (48% of GDP forecast in 2019). GDP growth should slow down to +1% in 2019 (from +1.5% in 2018).