Morocco's trade deficit rises 8 pct in 2018
RABAT, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Morocco's trade deficit rose by 8
percent to 204 billion dirhams ($21.36 billion) compared with a
year earlier, the foreign exchange regulator said on Tuesday.
Imports rose 9.3 percent to 478.7 billion Moroccan dirhams,
outstripping exports of 274.2 billion dirhams, up 10.2 percent.
The energy import bill surged 18.4 percent to 82.3 billion
Exports in the automotive sector totalled 60 billion
dirhams, up 10.7 percent as the North African country is home to
production plants of French carmakers Renault and PSA group.
Sales of phosphates and byproducts climbed by 17 percent to
51.7 billion dirhams.
Remittances from Moroccans living abroad dropped 1.7 percent
to 64.8 billion dirhams, while tourism receipts grew 1.4 percent
to 73.2 billion dirhams.
Foreign direct investments rose 28.6 percent to 33.5 billion
The deepening trade deficit was felt on Morocco's foreign
exchange reserves, which dropped 5.2 percent year on year to 229
billion dirhams as of Jan. 9 - enough to cover five months of
import needs - according to central bank data.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Jon Boyle)
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