With the exception of Morocco’s stable phosphates sales, the country’s major export sectors have suffered the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabat – Morocco witnessed a 19.7% drop in exports between January and April of this year, constituting a MAD 20 billion ($2 billion) loss, according to the Exchange Office’s latest foreign trade statistics.
In April alone, exports dropped by 47.2% — a MAD 12 billion ($1.2 billion) loss — while imports contracted by 33%, or MAD -15 billion (-$1.5 billion).
The trade deficit narrowed by MAD 1.3 billion ($133 million) to reach MAD 66.25 billion ($6.9 billion), only a 1.9% change but significant given the general losses in travel receipts, remittances from Moroccans residing abroad (MREs), and foreign direct investment (FDI).
With the exception of Morocco’s stable phosphates sales, the country’s major export sectors have suffered from the fall in world demand, the breakdown of supply chains, and the disruption of several activities in Morocco, all consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Morocco’s automobile exports fell by 39% at the end of April, textiles by 28%, aeronautics by 34%, and foodstuffs by 7%.
The losses range from MAD 1.8 billion to MAD 11 billion ($184 million to $1.1 billion).
Meanwhile, Morocco’s imports fell by 12.6% during the four-month period, a decrease of MAD 21.3 billion ($2.1 billion).
The considerable decrease in imports is due to the pause in investments and economic activity, along with a drop in consumption. However, imports of cereals increased by 22% due to drought and low seasonal yield.
Morocco’s capital goods imports fell by 18%, energy products by 22%, finished consumer goods by 15%, and semi-finished goods by 12%.
The losses range from MAD 4.4 billion to MAD 7.8 billion ($450 million to $798 million).
Steep tourism losses
Morocco has recorded steep tourism losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From January to April, travel receipts fell by 13% or MAD 3 billion ($307 million) to reach 20 billion ($2 billion).
In April alone, tourism revenues halved, dropping 51% to reach MAD 3.1 billion ($317 million). Although the sector continued to generate revenue despite the closure of land, maritime, and air borders, this is largely due to a delay in counting receipts.
Alternatively, Moroccans’ travel expenses abroad came to a near-complete halt in April and fell by 30% since January to stagnate at MAD 4.6 billion ($471 million).
Remittances from MREs saw an overall decline of 10% from January to the end of April and currently amount to MAD 18.5 billion ($1.89 billion).
The net flow of FDI fell by 17% in four months, but the 38% drop in spending mitigated the 26% decline in FDI receipts.