COVID-19 Crisis: Morocco’s Economy Shows Mixed Recovery Indicators

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting economies all over the world. Morocco is no exception.

Morocco’s primary and secondary economic sectors have begun showing signs of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, according to a recent report from the Studies and Financial Forecasts Department at the Ministry of Economy. The majority of other economic indicators, however, are still relatively negative.

In the primary sector, Morocco’s agriculture is showing positive indicators, most notably the farming of fruit trees. The country’s agricultural exports increased by 29.8% as of August compared to the same period last year.

Regarding the secondary sector, Morocco’s exports of phosphate and its derivatives increased by 6.8% in value and 10.3% in volume at the end of August.

Other industrial exports also recorded a significant rise in August, most notably automobile exports (+22.5%) and electronics (+14.8%).

Meanwhile, Morocco’s service sector continues to suffer from the COVID-19 crisis. Except for telecommunications, all the fields of Morocco’s tertiary economic sector show negative growth.

The tourism sector remains the most negatively affected. In August, tourist arrivals in Morocco were 77% lower than in the same month last year.

The hardship that Morocco’s economy is suffering amid the COVID-19 crisis automatically translates to negative socio-economic indicators. The country’s unemployment rate rose to 12.3% in the second quarter of 2020. Inflation also recorded an annual increase of 0.7% at the end of August.

Treasury’s situation

In terms of international trade, Morocco’s trade deficit decreased by 18.4% in August due to a decline in imports and an increase in exports.

The improved indicator allowed the country to strengthen its foreign currency reserves, which can now cover the costs for seven months and eight days of Morocco’s imports.

Domestically, however, the budget deficit increased by 50.2% at the end of September compared to the same period in 2019, reaching MAD 42.8 billion ($4.67 billion).

The budget deficit grew because of an 8.4% drop in the state’s revenue, notably tax revenues (-7.6%), and a 5.6% increase in expenses.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Morocco’s current economic situation is similar to what the majority of countries around the world, including global powers, are experiencing due to the COVID-19 crisis.