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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RABAT: Morocco’s trade deficit shrank by 18% to 100 billion dirhams ($11 billion) in the first seven months of 2020, the foreign exchange regulator said on Tuesday.
The global coronavirus pandemic has reduced the cost of energy imports, slowed trade and led to economic contractions that have hit demand. Morocco has previously said it expects a 5% economic contraction this year and a fiscal deficit of 7.5% of GDP.
Moroccan imports dropped 17.5% to 240 billion dirhams and exports tumbled 17% to 140 billion dirhams from January to July compared to the previous year, the regulator said in a monthly report.
Energy imports, including gas and oil, fell by nearly a third to 31.6 billion dirhams, on the back of lower prices.
However, drought has slashed by 42% Morocco’s cereals harvest this year, leading to a spike in soft wheat imports to 8.6 billion dirhams and in barley to 1.8 billion dirhams.
The automotive sector still tops Morocco’s industrial exports despite a drop in sales of 28.7% to 32.8 billion dirhams, while exports of phosphates and byproducts including fertilizers fell 4.2% to 28.8 billion dirhams.
Key to Morocco’s inflow of hard currency, travel receipts dropped 44.1% to 23 billion dirhams, remittances from Moroccans living abroad fell 3.2% to 36 billion dirhams and foreign direct investments slid 21.5% to 9 billion dirhams.
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