Algeria 6-month forex reserves down 11.1% on weaker oil

An oil tanker at the main oil port in Bijaya City on September 13, 2006 (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine) (AFP/File)

Algiers (AFP) - Algeria's foreign exchange reserves fell 11.1 percent in the first six months of 2015 as a result of weaker oil prices, the central bank reported Tuesday.

Reserves dropped from $178.9 billion (159.7 billion euros) on December 31 to $159 billion at the end of June, Bank of Algeria Governor Mohamed Laksaci was quoted by the APS news agency as saying.

There were down $34.2 billion over 12 months.

Laksaci attributed the "sharp contraction" to the "external shock on Algeria's balance of payments since the fourth quarter of 2014."

However, he said reserves were more than sufficient to meet the demands of the country's foreign debit, which stood at $3.4 billion at the end of June.

Algeria's primary source of revue is hydrocarbons, and the fall in prices took revenues from $63 billion in 2013 to $58.4 billion last year.

On Sunday, oil-flush Saudi Arabia said it would cut spending and issue more bonds as it faces up to a record budget shortfall due to tumbling crude prices.

Its neighbour, Qatar, forecast Tuesday that its economy would grow by almost 7.0 percent in 2016 and 2017 despite plummeting oil prices, powered by major infrastructure projects.

The Qatar National Bank said Doha can shrug off the fall in oil prices, as its breakeven oil price is "low" at $60.7 per barrel.

It said it has more than $315 billion in savings and that public debt is low.