Morocco's trade deficit rose to $2.51 billion in the first half of 2000, up 36 percent from the $1.84 billion reported for the same period last year. Imports increased by 14 percent to $6.97 billion, while exports rose only by 4.4 percent to $4.46 billion, according to Morocco's Exchange Office, the government office that regulates the country's currency reserves.
Morocco's oil bill increased by $440 million or 96.6 percent to stand at $1.17 billion during the first half of the year, the government said. Imports of other products increased by $414 million. Imports of food products, consumption goods and semi-finished products rose respectively by
17.6 percent, 16 percent and 3.8 percent.
Exports of semi-finished products increased by 21percent, consumption goods by 5.6 percent and crude products of animal and vegetable origin by 2.6 percent—while food products exports decreased by 6.4 percent and exports of mineral products dropped by 11.5 percent.
The exports of the phosphates corporation dropped by 7.4 percent to stand at nearly $713 million compared to $770 million during the same period last year. The OCP exports formed 16 percent of the country's overall exports. Agri-food products and agricultural products exports have also dropped, while the sales of the sector of textile and leather have practically stagnated.
The exchange office also revealed that Morocco's tourism returns reached 11.2 billion Dirhams ($1.02 billion), increasing by 12 percent, compared to DH10.05 billion posted in the same period of 1999.
The office attributes the progress to an 18.8 increase in foreign currency bank notes while bank transfers only progressed by 2.5 percent. In July alone, tourism returns increased by 4.1 percent.
Compared to the average of returns reported in the same period of the last five years (DH7.8 billion), the improvement stands at 43.2 percent.
The office also noted that Morocco's hard currency reserves in the January-July period of the current year $5.14 billion, compared to $5.23 billion during the same period in 1999, a 1.8 percent decrease. The reserves totaled $5.88 billion at the end of December 1999. The amount can cover more than six months of imports. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )