With scant real progress towards diversifying its economy, Algeria is set for a tenth straight deficit in 2018 – budget balance would require a highly-improbable $85/B. Rather than real reform, the country prefers to focus on fantasy economics, with banning imports the latest move.

Algeria has knocked $2bn off the expected deficit in its final 2018 budget. But the final figure of AD1.914bn ($16.9bn at the budget exchange rate of $1=AD113.5; $16.6bn at the latest actual rate of...