By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 31, 2012
Sources close to the banking sector revealed that the banks operating in Morocco have raised their lending interest rate with 0.5. The national banks have lately adopted austerity plans in reaction to the lack of liquidity.
Experts predict that the hike in the interest rate will have a detrimental effect on consumers’ attitudes. The banks are likely to face resistance from consumers who are expected to cut down their consumption. This situation is also susceptible to abate the national economic dynamics already weakened by the global economic recession.
According to the daily Al Massae, though the Moroccan central bank, Bank Al Maghreb issued in March a decision to reduce the interest rate from 3.25% to 3%, the national banks undertook a unilateral step by raising the lending rate.
Thus, mortgage interest rate has reached the threshold of 6% after the rate was estimated to only 5, 5 % last year. The national banks undertook this step despite a noticeable decrease in lending rate in the banking market.
Bank Al Maghreb tried to decrease the price of the referential rate in an attempt to reinvigorate the financial market. In reaction to this, the national banks increased the risk rate, another constituent of the interest price, which has maintained the prices of lending interest rates rather high.
Experts inferred that the national banks are reluctant to engage in the process of lowering the interest rate consented by the Professional Group of Moroccan Banks. Thus, private banks remain bent on aggregating benefits regardless of the critical situation of the domestic economy.
On the other hand, the banks argue that they have raised the interest rates in reaction to the lack of liquid assets. It is of note that a large number of Moroccan businessmen withdrew their assets from the national banks in reaction to the large scale seizure operations launched by the General Directorate for Taxes on all accounts indebted to the national treasury.
The repercussions of these withdrawals were soon noticed in the national banking sector. The banks started to face a difficulty in conducting their usual banking operations, such as granting loans and funding investment projects.
The bankers remain skeptical and predict a financial crisis if these assets withdrawals continue. In fact, the financing of investment funds has decreased with a rate of 0, 7%, while the liquidity deficit has risen with an average of 49 billions Dirhams ($5,3 billion).
The liquidity crisis continues despite the fact t that Bank Al Maghreb has repeatedly intervened to reduce the impact of the deficit through the injection of liquidity in the financial market.