The COVID-19 pandemic hit Morocco’s economy and trade hard, notably due to the decrease in imports and exports of goods.
Rabat – The Moroccan Foreign Exchange Office announced on Tuesday that Morocco’s trade deficit dropped by 18.2%, to nearly MAD 100.08 billion ($10.9 billion), by the end of July 2020.
The foreign exchange office justified the drop by the respective decreases in imports and exports of goods, from 17.5% to MAD 240.08 billion ($26.1 billion), and from 17% to MAD 140 billion ($15.2 billion), compared to the same period in the previous year.
Meanwhile, the coverage rate stood at 58.3%.
The drop was 14% for imports and 1.5% for exports on a quarterly basis.
The office justified the decline in imports of goods due to the drop in imports of almost all product groups. This includes finished consumer products, energy products, capital goods, semi-finished products, and raw products.
The purchases of food products increased by MAD 6.6 billion ($718.5 million), however.
In terms of exports, the decline follows the decrease in sales of almost all sectors, including automobile, textiles and leather, aeronautics, agriculture and agrifood, phosphates and their derivatives, other mining extractions, electronics and electricity, and other industries.
The balance of trade in services showed a surplus down 27.8%, to MAD 35.56 billion ($3.9 billion).
Imports and exports of services also declined by 25.2% and 26.4%, respectively.
Morocco’s government acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has directly impacted the country’s trade.
Statistics from the exchange office showed in July that overall imports saw a 16.9% annual decline between January and May, while imports specifically of finished consumer goods declined by MAD 11 billion ($1.2 billion).
Capital goods imports decreased by MAD 10.52 billion ($1.1 billion), energy products dropped MAD 9.26 billion ($1 billion), and raw products saw a fall of MAD 2.24 billion ($244 million).
By the end of May, food product imports saw an increase of MAD 5.16 billion ($562 million).
The COVID-19 crisis also affected the remittances of Moroccans residing abroad. The exchange office showed remittances declining by 12.4% between January and May compared to the same period in 2019.