Morocco’s foreign trade deficit ended 2014 on a positive note, narrowing 6.0% y/y to MAD186.3bn ($19.8bn) as exports increased and imports dropped, preliminary data from the Office de Change showed on January 16. Total imports fell 0.2% y/y to MAD383bn and exports grew 6.1% y/y to MAD196.7bn last year.
Imports were mainly dented by falling energy purchases (down 10% y/y to MAD91.9bn) amid declining crude oil prices. The trend will continue at least in Q1 2015, helping Morocco narrow further its CA deficit and shore up FX reserves.
Dropping energy and equipment imports last year helped offset rising food (up 14.8% y/y to MAD41.2bn), end-consuming goods (up 8% y/y to MAD70bn) and raw material (up 10.5% y/y to MAD19.7bn) imports as domestic demand remain strong.
Exports remained supported by strong sales of non-phosphates goods, mainly passenger cars, electronics, and the Others category. Such strong parameters helped offset falling value-added phosphates exports (down 0.1% y/y to MAD37.3bn). The annual contraction of phosphates exports, however, has sharply narrowed in H2 2014, meaning those exports will rebound in H1 2015. Agro exports rose 3.2% y/y to MAD37.4bn last year.
As to Morocco’s tourism proceeds they remained relatively subdued, inching down 0.4% y/y to MAD57.4bn undershooting government’s aspirations amid lower demand mainly from Libyans and Algerians.
Net transfers from Moroccans working and residing abroad rose 2.2% y/y to MAD59bn in 2014, despite the economic slowdown in the EU. The EU-based diaspora remains the key source of remittances.
Net FDI inflows to Morocco, however, grew 2.6% y/y to MAD28.4bn as several foreign acquisitions took place in Q4 after a period of stagnation and a high prior year base.
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