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Algeria's economy is struggling with low oil prices taking a heavy toll on its finances.

Hydrocarbons such as oil and natural gas account for 60 percent of Algeria's budget and make up 97 percent of its exports.

But with oil prices low and unlikely to bounce back for some time, Algeria's Central Bank expects its "black gold" to bring in only $34bn this year, down from $68bn in 2014.

In an effort to curb imports, the bank has allowed the dinar to sink to a record low against the US dollar.

Meanwhile, unemployment is becoming a problem - with those out of work expected to reach 11.9 percent in 2016.

To ease the pressure, the government has announced a 9 percent cut in next year's budget, but has ring-fenced housing, healthcare, education - areas cost that account for $60bn in government subsidies each year.

The IMF has urged Algeria to go beyond the 9 percent cuts and reduce spending on basic food items and petrol - both also heavily subsidised.

Meziane Lasfer, a professor in finance at the Cass Business School, joins Counting the Cost to discuss what can be done to diversify Algeria's economy and what the future holds for OPEC's largest member state.

Saudi Arabia: Selling hydrocarbons to buy carbohydrates

Saudi Arabia, one of the Middle East's biggest wheat exporters, is to stop almost all production next year to preserve its water wells.

Tabuk's wheat farms, which look like alien crop-circles in the harsh desert landscape, are to disappear to save ancient aquifers that are now believed to be running dry.

Reversing its policy of self-sufficiency, the kingdom will now join a host of other Middle East nations which rely entirely on imported wheat or, as the commodity traders like to put it, "sell hydrocarbons to buy carbohydrates".

John Sfakianakis, the GCC Director for the Ashmore Group, joins the programme to discuss how and why it go this bad.

Tag(s) : #Economy

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