The Office des Changes has published its latest bulletin on monthly indicators. It shows that Morocco recorded a trade deficit of over 191.8 billion dirhams at the end of August 2023, a drop of 9.4% compared with the same period last year.
This improvement, explains the Office, is due to a 3.9% drop in imports, to 471.86 billion dirhams, and a slight 0.2% increase in exports, totaling over 280 billion dirhams. As a result, the coverage rate stood at 59.3%, up 2.4 points on the previous year.
The drop in imports was mainly due to a reduction in purchases of energy products, semi-finished products and raw materials. The energy bill fell by 22.6% to 79.47 billion dirhams at the end of August 2023.
Imports of semi-finished products also fell by 13.5%, due to lower purchases of ammonia. In addition, imports of raw products fell by 25.4%, while imports of food products remained almost stable at 60.15 billion dirhams.
On the other hand, imports of finished consumer goods rose by 14.1%, mainly due to a 31.4% increase in purchases of parts and components for passenger cars and a 28.8% increase in imports of passenger cars. Imports of capital goods also rose by 16.6% to 104.28 billion dirhams at the end of August 2023, explains the Office.
With regard to exports, growth mainly concerned the automotive, electronics and electrical sectors, as well as textiles and leather. On the other hand, sales of phosphates and derivatives, as well as those of aeronautics, declined, the same source points out.
Automotive exports: over 90.4 billion dirhams
Automotive industry exports grew significantly in the first eight months of this year, reaching over 90.4 billion dirhams, an increase of 35.6% compared with the same period in 2022.
This positive trend, the bulletin points out, is due to higher sales in all segments of the automotive industry, notably in construction (+9.76 billion dirhams), wiring (+8.28 billion dirhams) and vehicle interiors and seating (+1.6 billion dirhams).
At the same time, sales in the electronics and electrical sector also recorded strong growth, rising by 32.8% to reach 15.18 billion dirhams at the end of August 2023. In addition, the textile and leather sector grew by 9.2%, thanks to increased sales of ready-made garments (+12.1%), hosiery (+4.9%) and footwear (+1.8%).
By contrast, exports in the aeronautical sector fell by 3.7% to 13.65 billion dirhams.
Phosphates and derivatives: exports down to 46.87 billion dirhams
Exports of phosphates and their derivatives fell to 46.87 billion dirhams at the end of August 2023, while maintaining a higher level than during the same period between 2019 and 2021.
This decrease is mainly due to lower sales of natural and chemical fertilizers, recording a significant drop of 35.1%. In addition, sales of phosphoric acid fell by 46.8%, while phosphate exports recorded a 56.2% decline.
Sales in the agriculture and agri-food sector rose slightly in the first eight months of 2023. This increase is mainly attributable to growth in exports in the agriculture, forestry and hunting sectors, which rose by 1.8%. However, this positive trend was slightly mitigated by lower sales in the food industry, down 2.8%.
FDI at 10.05 billion dirhams
The net flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Morocco showed a marked change at the end of August 2023, with a total of 10.05 billion dirhams. This performance represents a significant drop of 49.6% compared with the same period the previous year.
Foreign direct investment revenues fell by 23.4% to almost 21.24 billion dirhams. At the same time, foreign direct investment expenditure rose by 44% to 11.18 billion dirhams.
For the first eight months of 2023, Moroccan direct investment abroad (IDME) totaled 18.21 billion dirhams, up sharply on the 11.8 billion dirhams recorded at the end of August 2022. At the same time, disposals of these investments totaled around 10.67 billion dirhams, showing an increase on the same period of the previous year.
Excluding intra-group debt instruments and reinvested earnings, net equity investment flows were down by 190 million dirhams .
Remittances from Moroccans living abroad: 77.92 million dirhams
Moroccans living abroad (MRE) sent a total of 77.92 billion dirhams in remittances to Morocco in the first eight months of 2023, compared with 72.7 billion dirhams in the same period the previous year, representing a year-on-year increase of 7.2%.
The bulletin also mentions that the balance of trade in services recorded a surplus, up significantly by 37.7% to 91.73 billion dirhams. This increase was mainly due to growth in exports, which rose by 24.6% to 171.94 billion dirhams, outstripping the rise in imports, which rose by 12.3% to 80.21 billion dirhams.
Travel: 32.5% growth
Revenues generated by the tourism sector in the first eight months of 2023 posted an exceptional performance, reaching a total of 71.36 billion dirhams, representing impressive growth of 32.5% compared with the same period last year.
This remarkable figure even surpassed the results recorded at the end of August 2019, which then stood at almost 52.69 billion dirhams. This performance underlines the vigorous recovery of Morocco’s tourism sector, after the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spending on international travel stood at 16.52 billion dirhams at the end of August. This figure reflects the upturn in international travel and the renewed confidence of travelers.
The excess balance of revenues over travel expenditure thus amounted to 54.84 billion dirhams, representing a significant increase on the 42.02 billion dirhams recorded at the end of August 2022. This positive development reinforces Morocco’s economic position as a popular tourist destination, while stimulating national economic growth.