Rabat – Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), expects the Moroccan economy to see an annual contraction of 6.3% for 2020.
It attributes the prediction to expected declines of 5.3% of agricultural added value and 6.3% of non-agricultural added value.
Bank Al Maghrib revealed the forecast in a press release on September 22, following its board of director’s third quarterly meeting.
In light of rising COVID-19 case numbers and a consequential slower-than-expected restart of economic activity, Bank Al Maghrib had to downgrade the 2020 forecast it announced in June. The near total closure of borders, affecting tourism, also factored in.
Bank al Maghrib expects the economy to rebound by 4.7% in 2021. It attributes the estimate to a predicted increase of 12.6% in agricultural added value, under the assumption of a cereal harvest of 75 million quintals. The bank also estimates an improvement of 3.7% in added value in non-agricultural sectors.
Bank Al Maghrib stressed that the outlook on the Moroccan economy remains surrounded by uncertainties amid the unstable evolution of Morocco’s COVID-19 epidemic.
The uncertainty also comes from the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis on the rhythm of the economic recovery, which requires the bank to continuously update its forecast.
Bank Al Maghrib also shared data from Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) on jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis. They noted that the second quarter of 2020 saw a loss of 589,000 jobs in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, over two-thirds of employees who maintained their jobs saw their working hours reduced on average from 45 to 22 per week, in non-agricultural sectors.
In total, the number of working people fell by 93,000 during the crisis and the activity rate fell from 45.8% to 44.8%.