(Ecofin Agency) - Last year, Morocco's trade transactions with the rest of the world stood at $116.8 billion, against $85.9 billion in 2021. Despite the surge, however, the country’s trade deficit widened, reaching 22.7% of GDP.
Morocco's trade deficit widened by 7.2 percentage points, from 15.5% of GDP in 2021 to 22.7% of GDP in 2022. The Moroccan Ministry of Economy disclosed the figures in its annual foreign trade report, published on August 16.
According to the report, the trade deficit reached 308.8 billion dirhams (about $31 billion) in 2022, up from 199.2 billion dirhams (around $20 billion) the previous year. The foreign exchange office attributes the negative performance to a more substantial increase in goods imports (+39.5%) compared to exports (+30.1%).
Imports in 2022 were valued at 737.4 billion dirhams, compared to 528.6 billion dirhams in 2021. This, according to the report, mainly results from "purchases of energy products, semi-finished goods, and food products, representing over 75.7%".
Exports increased by 99.3 billion dirhams, going from 329.4 billion dirhams to 428.6 billion dirhams over the past year. This growth was spurred by a major increase in sales of semi-finished products, mainly "phosphates and derivatives," whose exports rose by 43.9% to reach 115.5 billion dirhams in 2022, making them the leading export sector, outpacing the automotive industry, which saw a 33% increase in the same year.
Regarding Morocco's trading partners, Europe leads with 58.8% of total trade, followed by Asia (22.1%), America (12.5%), and Africa (5.5%). However, the trade balance with each of these partners shows a deficit, except for Africa. Trade balance between Morocco and its African peers was in surplus–13.3 billion dirhams compared to 6.2 billion dirhams in 2021.
The Moroccan economy, it is worth noting, recorded a growth rate of 3.5% in the first quarter of 2023, with a positive contribution of 3.6 points from foreign trade, according to data from the High Commission for Planning.