Algeria posted a trade deficit of $3.25bn for the first seven months of 2018, less than half the $6.99bn figure for the same period a year earlier.

Algiers introduced swingeing measures at the start of 2018 in a bid to slash imports and thus the deficit. But in reality the lion’s share of the improvement in the figures is down to higher oil prices. Algeria’s Saharan Blend crude averaged $70.9/b for January-July 2018, up 39% year-on-year. Earnings from oil and gas were up by a...