Over the past several decades, Algeria has maintained a trade surplus , largely due to the export of hydrocarbons, which accounts for 90 percent of exports. In 1999 that surplus reached $4.4 billion on exports of $13.7 billion and imports of $9.3 billion. This surplus has endured even when oil prices dropped, as they did in 1998 when the trade surplus reached US$1.5 billion. Nonhydrocarbon exports, although minimal, have risen in the last 3 years, but much of that is believed to have come as a result of repayment of debt owed to the former Soviet Union in the form of goods.
The value of imports increased between 1987 and 1995. Merchandise imports fell between 1996 and 1998, thanks to a good harvest, but rose slightly in 1999 due to an increase in domestic demand. Capital equipment accounted for 34 percent of imports, while food has generally accounted for almost 25 percent of imports. Semi-finished products were in third position, accounting for 27 percent of total imports.
The European Union and the United States are Algeria's main trade partners. The EU, which is negotiating a new Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) agreement with Algeria, is a major importer of the country's hydrocarbons. In 1999, Italy—Algeria's largest trade
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Algeria|
|SOURCE : International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
partner in the last decade—accounted for 17.8 percent of exports, followed by France (12.4 percent) and Spain (10.2 percent). The United States is Algeria's second-largest trading partner, accounting for 16.4 percent of exports in 1999. France is Algeria's main source of imports, accounting for 29.8 percent, followed by Italy (9.7 percent), Germany (6.8 percent), and Spain (5.9 percent). The United States comes in the fifth place, providing 5.3 percent of Algeria's total imports.