The Moroccan economy has taken a hit in recent months, as the country’s trade deficit widened by 57% in January-November 2022. This is according to the latest figures released by the Foreign Exchange Office.
The data showed that Morocco’s trade deficit widened to MAD 30.1 billion (US$3.35 billion) in the first eleven months of 2022, from an already large MAD 19.2 billion in the same period the previous year. This is the highest rate of trade deficit since records began in 1997.
The main factor behind the widening of the trade deficit was a 19% decline in exports, which dropped to MAD 105.3 billion in January-November 2022, compared to MAD 130.1 billion in the same period the previous year. This decline was mainly driven by the drop in prices of the country’s main export products, including phosphates, seafood, and agricultural products.
On the other hand, imports still rose by 8.1%, reaching MAD 135.4 billion in January-November 2022, compared to MAD 125.3 billion in the same period the previous year. This was mainly due to the increase in demand for consumer goods such as food, beverages, and cars.
The widening of the trade deficit is a worrying sign for the Moroccan economy, as it suggests that the country is not able to produce enough exports to cover its imports. This could lead to a weakening of the Moroccan dirham, which could hurt the country’s economic growth in the long term.
To combat this problem, the Moroccan government has announced a series of measures to reduce the country’s dependence on imports. These include a new taxation system aimed at increasing domestic production and encouraging exports, and an increase in the production of raw materials and agricultural products. In addition, the government has implemented a reform of the foreign exchange system, which is aimed at making it easier for businesses to access foreign currency.
However, it remains to be seen if these measures will be enough to reduce the trade deficit and boost the Moroccan economy in the long term. For now, the country’s trade deficit remains a cause for concern, and the government will need to continue to take steps to improve the situation.