The COVID-19 crisis hit every sector of the country’s exports and almost every import sector.
Rabat – The volumes of Moroccan imports and exports have recorded drops of 5.1% and 10.6%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, said the Exchange Office on Thursday, April 30.
The trade balance deficit has thus widened by 3.8%, and the coverage rate recorded a loss of 3.6 points due to a drop in exports compared to imports.
The change in imports is due to the decline in imports of capital goods, which dropped by MAD 3.866 billion ($392 million), semi-finished products (MAD 1.283 billion, or $130 million), raw products (MAD 1.102 billion, or $112 million), energy products (MAD 884 million, or $90 million), and finished consumer products (MAD 859 million, or $87 million).
The import of food products has increased by MAD 1.748 billion ($177 million), reaching MAD 14.556 billion ($1.47 billion) at the end of March 2020 against MAD 12.808 billion ($1.3 billion) one year earlier. The evolution is due to the increase in purchases of barley, which rose by MAD 579 million ($59 million) and those of corn (MAD 405 million, or $41 million).
The energy bill dropped by 4.8% to stand at MAD 17.514 billion ($1.77 billion) at the end of March 2020 against MAD 18.398 billion ($1.86 billion) a year earlier, recording a decrease of MAD 884 million ($90 million). The drop in energy expenses is mainly due to the decline in supplies of gas oil and fuel oils by MAD 994 million ($101 million).
The price effect on fossil fuels is down by 11.9% (MAD 4,896, or $496/ton at the end of March 2020 against MAD 5,557, or $563/ton one year earlier), explaining the evolution. The quantities imported, however, recorded an increase of 1.3% (1,688 million tons against 1,666 million tons).
Decline in exports
Exports recorded a decrease of 10.6%, totaling MAD 68.217 billion (6.9 billion) against MAD 76.329 billion (7.7 billion) one year earlier.
The decline is due to a drop in overall exports including in the automotive sector, which currently accounts for 22.6% of the total exports compared to 27% one year earlier.
The sector recorded a 25.3% drop, coming to MAD 15.418 billion ($1.56 billion) in the first quarter of 2020 against MAD 20.641 billion ($2.1 billion) one year earlier.
The drop comes from a decline in sales of both manufacturing, by 36.3% (MAD 5.99 billion, or $607 million, compared to MAD 9.41 billion, or $954 million) and wiring, by 27.8% (MAD 6.14 billion, or $623 million, compared to MAD 8.51 billion, or $863 million, at the end of March 2020). Sales of vehicle interiors and seats also dropped by 13.2%.
Exports of aeronautics fell by 19.2% to MAD 3.409 billion ($346 million) against MAD 4.218 billion ($428 million) compared to the end of March 2019. The decline comes from a drop in sales of the Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS) ecosystem by MAD 427 million ($43 million) and those of the assembly ecosystem by MAD 386 million ($39 million).
Textile and leather exports recorded a 7% drop to MAD 8.739 billion ($886 million) against MAD 9.396 billion ($953 million).
Phosphates and derivatives exports also dropped 4.9%, coming to MAD 11 billion ($1.12 billion) against MAD 11,585 billion ($1.17 billion).
Agriculture and Agrifood registered a decline of 2.5% to MAD 19.9 billion ($2.02 billion) against MAD 20.413 billion ($2.07 billion) one year earlier. This is due to the drop in the sales of agriculture, forestry, and hunting products by MAD 289 million ($29.3 million), and a decrease in sales in the food industry by MAD 197 million ($20 million). The sector currently accounts for 26.7% of the country’s total exports.
Electronics dropped by 19.5% to MAD 1.816 billion ($184 million) against MAD 2.255 billion ($229 million).
Exports in mined materials fell by 26.6% to MAD 787 million ($78 million) against MAD 1.072 billion ($109 million) in the same period in 2019.
Exports of the pharmaceutical products also decreased by 16.3% to MAD 272 million ($28 million) compared to MAD 325 million ($33 million) one year earlier.
FDI and remittances from Moroccans living abroad
The net flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Morocco has increased by 7.5% as of the end of March 2020, reaching MAD 4.24 billion ($430 million) compared to MAD 3.94 billion ($400 million) one year earlier.
The growth is explained by a drop in FDI spending by 41.6% to MAD 1.64 billion ($166 million).
Moroccan direct investments abroad dropped by 24.8% to stand at MAD 2.46 billion ($250 million) compared to MAD 3.27 billion ($332 million) at the end of March 2019.
Remittances from Moroccans Residing Abroad (MREs) recorded a decrease of 4.7% to stand at MAD 14.53 billion ($1.47 billion) compared to MAD 15.25 billion ($1.55 billion) at the end of March 2019.