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The trade deficit continues its digging

According to figures recently released by the Department of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF), the trade deficit continued to worsen by 7.7% to reach 186.4 billion dirhams, while the foreign trade situation was marked by a combined export growth of 9.7% and imports of 8.8%. In other words, this translates into an improvement in the coverage rate of 0.5 points to 57.2%.

“Despite this widening, the import coverage rate for exports improved by 0.5 percentage points, following a notable increase in exports, driven in particular by the remarkable performance of exports from the phosphate and derivative automotive and agriculture and agri-food,” noted this Department under the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Underlining the sustained dynamism of exports, the DEPF noted that at the end of November 2018, exports of goods recovered by 9.7% to more than 249 billion dirhams.

In its last economic update of the year (December 262), the DEPF indicated that this performance has affected all sectors, particularly automotive, phosphates and derivatives and “agriculture and food” Sectors that contributed almost 64% of the total increase in exports.

In detail, it is apparent from the document that shipments of the OCP group increased by 13.2% to 45.5 billion dirhams at the end of November 2018, thus increasing the share of this sector in the total exports of 17.7% last year to 18.3%.

According to the same source, “excluding OCP, exports benefited from the good performance of global trades in Morocco, in this case sales of automotive (+ 10.6% to 59.9 billion dirhams), aerospace (+ 13.1% to 12.6 billion) and electronics (+ 7.8% to 8.9 billion)”.

Regarding exports from the agriculture and agri-food sector, it appears that they jumped by 6.3% to 52.1 billion dirhams. An increase that Management explains by the improvement of the sales of the segment “agriculture, forestry and hunting” which increased by 13.5% to 20.5 billion dirhams and that observed at the level of the food industry which knew a up 1.9% to 29.7 billion.

As for textile and leather sector exports, they posted a 4% increase to 35.8 billion dirhams, or 14.4% of total exports. This trend covers the rise in exports of made-up clothing (+ 2.5% to MAD 22.3 billion), knitwear (+ 4.5% to MAD 7.4 billion) and shoes (+ 0.9% to 2.8 billion dirhams).

Other progress, that of exports of the sector of the pharmaceutical industry which reached 1.1 billion dirhams, an increase of 6.3%.

In its note, the DEPF also noted that “the value of the remaining exports, equivalent to 13.3% of total exports, increased by 15.6%”.

Examining the evolution of imports of goods, the DEPF noted that they recorded an increase of 8.8% at the end of November 2018 to reach 435.4 billion dirhams.

Management believes that this is due to “increased acquisitions of all product groups, mainly energy products, capital goods and finished consumer goods. The increase in purchases of these three product groups accounts for almost three-quarters of the total increase in imports. “

In detail, the DEPF noted that supplies of energy products increased by 18.4%; food purchases of 7.7% and purchases of capital goods, which are the largest item of domestic imports, with a share of 24.7%, 7.8% as a result of acquisitions of aircraft parts ( + 49.7%) and miscellaneous machinery and equipment (+ 12.4%); semi-finished products of 3.5%, among others.

Management noted that the share of purchases of capital goods and semi-finished products in total imports fell 1.3 percentage points to 45.5% from 46.8% a year earlier. While purchases of finished consumer products were up 7.1% to 98.6 billion dirhams.

Finally, purchases of raw products also contributed to the increase in global imports, with an increase of 18.2% to 22.3 billion dirhams. This increase was recorded in terms of imports of sulfur (+739 million dirhams) and crude or refined soybean oil (+573 million dirhams).

Also in the “Foreign Trade” component, the DEPF noted that at the end of November 2018, the balance of travel showed a fall in its surplus of 1.8% to 49.7 billion dirhams, due to the increase in travel recipes

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