Morocco trade deficit shrinks 7% on tourism and lower imports By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk past souvenir shops in Marrakech after last month’s deadly earthquake, Morocco, October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Abdelhak Balhaki/File Photo

RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco’s annual trade deficit contracted by 7.3% to 286 billion dirhams ($28.6 billion) in 2023, helped by a drop in energy imports and higher tourism revenue, the foreign exchange regulator said in a monthly report.

Imports fell 2.5% from a year earlier to 715 billion dirhams, while exports increased by 0.2% to 429 billion dirhams, the regulator said, adding that remittances from Moroccans abroad and automotive industry exports also helped to improve the trade deficit.

Morocco’s energy imports dropped 20.4% to 122 billion dirhams after a drop both in demand and prices in the international market.

Wheat imports stood at 19.3 billion dirhams, down 25.3%, while ammoniac imports – key for fertiliser production – fell by 58% to 8.8 billion dirhams.

Morocco, which has the world’s largest phosphate reserves, reported a 34% decrease in exports of the mineral and its derivatives, including fertilisers, to 76 billion dirhams.

Home to Stellantis (NYSE:) and Renault (EPA:) production plants, Morocco reported a more than 27% gain in automotive sector exports to a record 141 billion dirhams.

Tourism revenue also scaled new peaks, jumping 11.7% to 104 billion dirhams from a record 14.5 million visitors to the country last year.

Key to Morocco’s inflow of hard currency, remittances from Moroccans abroad reached a record 115 billion dirhams, up 4% from 2022.

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