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Morocco’s trade deficit widens 2.3% year/year in Jan-Nov

RABAT, Jan 2 (Reuters) – Morocco’s trade deficit widened by 2.3% to 191.8 billion dirhams ($20 billion) in the first 11 months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, the foreign exchange regulator said on Thursday.

Imports rose 2.7% to 450.2 billion dirhams, outstripping exports of 258.4 billion dirhams, which were 2.9% higher, the regulator said in a monthly report.

Energy imports, including gas and oil, dropped 7.5% to 69.7 billion dirhams, or 15.5% of total imports.

The automotive sector accounted for most of Morocco’s exports at 27.6% of all sales at 71.3 billion dirhams, up 5.4%. The North African country is home to production plants of French carmakers Renault and Peugeot and car part suppliers.

Exports of phosphates and byproducts including fertilisers rose 0.8% to 45.2 billion dirhams and agricultural and agrifood sales stood at 54.8 billion dirhams, up 3.8 %.

Remittances from Moroccans living abroad, which are important to Morocco’s hard currency flow, were stable at 59.6 billion dirhams. Foreign direct investment dropped 46.1% to 17.6 billion dirhams. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Grant McCool)

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