Algeria has recorded trade deficits totaling $45.2bn since 2015. Last year’s was over $11bn despite a 24% rise in oil prices. Reserves fell to a 10-year low in a bid to balance the books. With economic reform going nowhere, Algeria’s only ‘plan’ to end trade deficits is banning imports.

Algeria cut its trade deficit by a third to $11.2bn in 2017. But dwindling oil output and higher domestic consumption mean that last year’s 23% increase in oil prices only...