• 24-May-2019

Algeria's government is taking steps to tighten the import of cereals as it seeks to cope with a fall in foreign exchange reserves, state news agency APS reported on Thursday.

Algeria, one of the world's largest grain importers, saw the value of its purchases of cereals reach $3.1 billion in 2018, a 11.55 percent rise from the previous year.

France is Algeria's main soft wheat supplier.

The measure to cut spending will also include milk imports, APS said, citing Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui's office.

Total spending on cereals and milk shipments account for more than 50 percent of the overall value of food imports, which reached $8.57 billion in 2018.

"The government called on concerned services to make a precise assessment on the real needs of the national wheat and milk market," APS said, referring to a meeting chaired by Bedoui on Wednesday to discuss "regulation" of cereal and milk imports.

The bid to limit cereal imports is part of attempts to preserve the country's foreign exchange reserves, APS said.

Reserves fell to $88.61 billion in September last year from $106.3 billion in the same month a year earlier.

Algeria has failed for now to reduce spending on other goods despite import restrictions over the past years.

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