From Reuters: Algeria GDP growth slows in Q3 despite spike in energy

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Jan 22 Algeria recorded slower third-quarter growth last year despite a significantly better performance from the energy sector, as non-hydrocarbon growth slackened, the government said on Sunday.

Overall GDP growth was 3 percent in the third quarter, down from 3.5 percent in the same period of 2015, according to a report from the statistics office. The government expects full-year growth to reach 3.5 percent, compared with 3.9 percent in 2015.

The OPEC member country’s energy sector expanded by 7.7 percent in the third quarter, due to a higher output in 2016 and a slight recovery in prices. The oil sector contracted 1.4 percent in the same period in 2015 with oil prices plummeting.

Algeria relies heavily on oil and gas, which make up 60 percent of the state budget and 95 percent of total exports.

Like in other oil producing economies, low crude prices have hit Algeria’s state finances, forcing the government to cut spending and freeze infrastructure investment projects.

The government has approved a 14 percent cut in spending for 2017 after a 9 percent reduction for 2016. Energy revenues are forecast at $35 billion for this year, up from $27.5 billion in 2016.

It has also endorsed new and higher taxes as part of efforts to secure new revenue sources after attempts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas failed.

Growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector had been prompting the North African country of 40 million people to import almost everything from food and medicine to raw materials needed for its small industry.
But non-energy growth weakened across the board in the third quarter, with an overall 2.3 percent growth, down from 5.4 percent in the same period in 2015, the statistics office said.

The agriculture sector grew 4.7 percent, down from 7.2 percent a year earlier, while services expanded 3.9 percent against 5 percent in 2015.

Industrial growth was 2.8 percent, down from 4.5 percent a year ago.

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