Rabat – Morocco’s trade balance is increasingly deepening. In 2017, trade deficit increased for the second year in a row. Relatively weak, Moroccan exports, mainly of the phosphate and the automotive industry, failed to offset the surge of the energy bill.
According to recent statistics provided by the Foreign Exchange Office, Morocco’s 2017 trade deficit increased by 2.6 percent, reaching MAD 189.8 billion, compared to MAD 185 billion in 2016.
While in 2015 trade deficit improved slightly, this year, Moroccan exports barely managed to cover 56.3 percent of exports, despite the increase of automotive and phosphate exports.
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According to the Exchange Office, imports increased by 6.3 percent in 2017, while exports increased by 9.3 percent. However, in terms of value, imports cost much more at MAD 434.7 billion, compared to a revenue of MAD 245 billion for exports.
The deepening of the trade deficit is due to a sharp increase in energy imports, which rose 23.7 percent, reaching MAD 70 billion, as well as and a significant increase in oil prices.
The automotive industry marked the largest evolution in exports with a 7.1 percent rise to MAD 58.5 billion, driven by the increase of output of Renault’s Tangier’s factory. Phosphate, meanwhile, was marked by a rising curve, ending the year with results reaching MAD 44 billion in terms of export.
As for financial flows, remittances of Moroccans residing abroad rose by 4.5 percent in 2017, reaching MAD 65.4 billion compared to MAD 62.6 billion in 2016. At the tourism level, receipts rose by 8.4 percent, reaching MAD 69.6 billion at the end of December 2017. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows followed the same upward trend, amounting to around MAD 21 billion, an increase of 12 percent from 2016.
While the Exchange Office did not reveal the countries of origin of imports and those of Moroccan exports, the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) published data which highlighted that Moroccan export increased increases in 14.08 percent and 9.9 percent from January to October 2017.
According to the same data, Spain is Morocco’s first customer, ahead of France, and its first supplier with share of 36.4 percent of all Moroccan imports.