The Oxford Business Group said in a statement that the Moroccan economy has maintained sustained growth in 2018, supported by strong investment flows and rising exports in several sectors; however, a general deterioration in the global economic climate is expected to dampen expansion this year.
GDP grew 3.2% in 2018, according to estimates released by the World Bank on January 9th, nearly double the 1.7% projection for the MENA region.
These prospects are also shared by the Moroccan central bank “Bank Al Maghrib” (BAM), which, in a statement released December 25, announced a growth forecast of around 3.3%, slightly lower than the figure of 4.1% recorded in 2017.
The bank attributed this decline to, among other things, weaker results from non-agricultural activities and a drop in agricultural value added.
Tourism is one of the key sectors that helped drive growth in 2018. By the end of November, Morocco had welcomed 11.3 million tourists, an 8.5% year-on-year increase over the previous year, according to the Observatory of Tourism of Morocco. Revenues also rose, posting an increase of 9.4% in the first half of last year.
Other high-performing sectors in 2018 include the mining sector, the production of phosphates and by-products generating export revenues of 42.2 billion dirhams (3.9 billion euros) over the last two years. First 10 months of the year, which represents an increase of 14.6% year-on-year according to the Office des Changes, as well as the automobile sector, whose exports increased by 11% between January and October, with sales reaching 60 billion dirhams (5.5 billion euros).
The trade deficit nevertheless widened by 7.8% year-on-year over the period, with imports amounting to 393.3 billion dirhams (36.2 billion euros) against exports reaching 226.3 billion dirhams (20.8 billion euros). This is mainly due to a 19.7% increase in energy imports, a result of high world oil prices during a good part of 2018.