July 14, 2015 / 12:40 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Algeria's central bank says foreign reserves fall $19 bln in first qtr

(adds details on other data)

ALGIERS, July 14 (Reuters) - Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves dropped by $19.02 billion to $159.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015 due to the collapse in global crude oil prices, the central bank said.

The sharp drop underscores the challenge of low oil prices to the North African OPEC member, which relies on energy revenues for 60 percent of its state budget, and oil and gas exports for 95 percent of sales abroad.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last week urged his government to rationalise spending, but the central bank said the level of reserves remained adequate for Algeria to manage external shocks.

Reserves were $178.938 billion in December 2014, the central bank said in a report.

It recorded a trade deficit of $6.3 billion in the first five months of 2015, compared to a $3.44 billion surplus a year earlier, according to recent figures. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Patrick Markey and Hugh Lawson)

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