Algeria has been rapidly drawing down its foreign currency reserves: from $194bn at the start of July 2014, just before oil prices started to slide, to $143bn at the end of 2015 and $137bn at the end of May (see chart).

Speaking on 15 June, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said that he expected that the country’s forex reserves would fall further to around $116bn be the end of 2016 (see chart).

This is some $27bn down on the end-2015 figure, a rate of depletion that, if it continued,...