Morocco Jan-Nov trade deficit rises 18%
RABAT: Morocco’s trade deficit rose 18 percent to 166.03 billion dirhams ($16.43 billion) in the first 11 months of 2016 compared with the same period a year ago, the foreign exchange regulator said on Friday citing increased imports. Equipment imports rose 25.5 percent to 106.71 billion dirhams, while auto imports were 31.8 percent higher at 12.92 billion dirhams, the data showed. Wheat imports also jumped as bad weather hurt the local harvest last year, rising 37.5 percent from a year earlier to 11.22 billion dirhams at the end of November. The energy import bill fell 20 percent to 49.19 billion dirhams compared with a year earlier, thanks to lower prices in the international market. Morocco is the biggest energy importer in the North Africa region. Total exports rose 1.4 percent from a year earlier to 203.18 billion dirhams, led by a 8.5 percent rise in auto exports. Phosphate sales fell 12.5 percent to 35.76 billion dirhams as prices fell in the international market.