While Morocco attracted MAD 33.5 billion in foreign direct investment in 2018, its trade balance recorded an MAD 15 billion deficit increase.
Rabat – The foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in Morocco amounted to MAD 33.5 billion in 2018, a significant increase of 28.6 percent than the previous year, the Moroccan foreign exchange office said Wednesday.
The office explained the figures by the increase in revenues (up by MAD 11.6 billion) over expenditures (up by MAD 4.1 billion), in a note on foreign trade through 2018.
The 2018 Ernst & Young Africa Attractiveness Survey showed Morocco and South Africa as the top FDI destinations in Africa. Morocco attracted 96 FDI projects in 2017, an increase from 81 projects in 2016.
Morocco also jumped 9 places since 2017 and ranked 60th out of 190 countries in the 2019 World Bank’s “Doing Business” ranking.
The North African country aims to be among the top 50 countries in the Doing Business rankings by 2021.
Imports outstrip exports
Morocco’s trade deficit went up 8 percent from MAD 189.2 billionin 2017 to MAD 204.5 billion last year, according to the foreign exchange office.
The North African country’s imports rose by 9.3 percent, recording MAD 478.7 billion in 2018 compared to MAD 438.1 billion in 2017.
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The hike is mainly due to increases in the cost of energy imports (up MAD 12.8 billion) which made up 31 percent of the total of the import increase, explained the office.
Exports rose to MAD 274.2 billion, up 10.2 percent from the previous year.
The office explained the change by the rise in exports sales, including phosphates (up MAD 7.5 billion); the automotive sector (up MAD 6.3 billion); agricultural products (up MAD 3.7 billion); aeronautics (up MAD 1.7 billion); and the textile and leather sector (up MAD 1.6 billion).
“The sectors account for nearly 81.7% of the total increase in exports.”
Tourism revenue up 1.4 percent
Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, said on Tuesday that Morocco’s foreign exchange reserves were down by 5.2 percent year on year amounting to MAD 229 billion as of January 9.
Last year, remittances from Moroccans residing abroad amounted to MAD 64.8 billion, down by 1.7 percent from 2017. Meanwhile, tourism revenues increased by 1.4 percent to MAD 73.2 billion, the foreign exchange office noted.
Tourism revenue and remittances from Moroccans residing abroad are the main sources of Morocco’s foreign currency reserves.
Morocco registered a “tourism surplus” of MAD 54.3 billion in 2018, slightly down from MAD 54.8 billion a year earlier.
The tourism surplus means that foreign tourists spent more money in Morocco than Moroccan tourists did in foreign countries.
The office attributed the surplus to “an MAD 1.1 billion increase in revenues combined with an MAD 1.6 billion in expenditure.”