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Algeria aims to cut imports, balance payment deficit in 2020

Algeria, under financial pressure after a fall in energy revenue since 2014, is targeting a 13.3% reduction in its imports bill next year, Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal said on Wednesday.

ALGIERS, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Algeria, under financial pressure after a fall in energy revenue since 2014, is targeting a 13.3% reduction in its imports bill next year, Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal said on Wednesday.

Loukal also told parliament the government aimed to cut the country's balance payment deficit to $8.5 billion in 2020 from the $16.6 billion forecast for the end of this year.

OPEC member Algeria relies heavily on oil and gas, which account for 60% of the state budget and 94% of total export revenue.

It expects energy earnings to reach $35.2 billion next year, up from the $34.5 billion target for 2019, depending on the oil price, while the goods import bill is projected at $38.6 billion, against a $44 billion goal for this year, Loukal said.

Latest official figures show Algeria's trade deficit rose by $1.63 billion in the first eight months of this year after a 11.91% fall in oil and gas earnings.

"The budget is still under pressure," Loukal said.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Alison Williams)

((hamid.ouldahmed@thomsonreuters.com;))

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