The trade deficit continues to narrow

Foreign trade indicators improved further at the end of the first quarter of 2021, according to data released by the Foreign Exchange Office. At the end of March, trade in goods was characterized by an increase of 12.7% in exports to 8.720MDH more important than that of imports (+ 3.087MDH or + 2.6%). The trade deficit was thus reduced from 11.2% to 5.633MDH for the first three months of the year, noted the Office noting that the coverage rate stood at 63.4%, which corresponds to an improvement of 5.7 points. The increase in imports of goods is explained by the increase in purchases of the majority of product groups, mainly, finished consumer products (+ 3.198MDH), food products (+ 1.813MDH), and raw products ( + 930MDH). In its foreign trade indicators for March 2021, the Office de change indicated, however, that “this increase is mitigated by the drop in supplies of energy products (- 2.592MDH) and that of purchases of capital goods (-383MDH) “. In its recently published note, the Office explained that the increase in imports of finished consumer products (+ 11.9%) is mainly attributable to the increase in purchases of parts and parts for passenger cars ( + 35%) and those of passenger cars (+ 23.5%). While the increase in food imports (+ 12.5%) is mainly attributed to the increase in wheat purchases (22.1%) and dates (72.5%). It should be noted that the energy bill was, for its part, reduced by 14.9% at the end of March 2021 due to “the drop in supplies of gas oils and fuel oil (-1.185MDH), due to the decline in price of 9.8% (4.407 DH / T at the end of March 2021 against 4.885 DH / T a year earlier), combined with the drop in imported quantities (-5.1%): 1.603mT at the end of March 2021 against 1.689mT at end of March 2020 ”, he underlined in his note. At the same time, the office noted a drop of 383MDH in imports of capital goods which thus stood at 29,332MDH at the end of March 2021 against 29,715MDH a year earlier. Regarding exports, it appears from the data that they reached 77.614MDH against 68.894MDH a year earlier, ie an improvement of 12.7%. Statistics show that the increase affected the majority of sectors, mainly automotive sales, phosphates and derivatives and electronics and electricity, the Office said. As he explained in his note, automotive sector exports stood at 22.602MDH at the end of March 2021 against 16.274MDH a year earlier, i.e. + 38.9% or + 6.328MDH. It should be noted that this development is mainly attributed to the increase in sales of the construction segment (+ 51.9% or + 3.138MDH) and those of the cabling segment (+ 23.4% or + 1.435MDH). For their part, exports of phosphates and derivatives increased by 21.7% (+ 2.387MDH), reaching 13.405MDH at the end of March 2021 against 11.018MDH at the end of March 2020, mainly due to the increase in sales of acid phosphoric acid (+ 1.516MDH) and those of natural and chemical fertilizers (+ 879MDH). While sales of the electronics and electricity sector increased by 21.5% (+ 577MDH). It should be noted that the increase in exports was mitigated by the drop in sales in the aeronautics sector and in the textile and leather sector. In fact, textile and leather exports fell by 5.5% (-460MDH) at the end of the first quarter, mainly due to the decline in sales of ready-made clothing by 7.1% (-369MDH) and those of shoes. of 19.5% (-163MDH). While the exports of the aeronautical sector showed a decrease of 17.3% (-699MDH). As for the exports of the agriculture and agrifood sector, they were marked by a virtual stability (+ 0.6% or + 120MDH), the sales of this sector being at 20,464MDH against 20,344MDH at the end of March 2020. According to the explanations of the Foreign Exchange Office, “this development is due to the increase in sales of agriculture, forestry and hunting by 2.6% or + 294MDH, attenuated, however, by the drop in sales in the food industry (-1, 9% or -166MDH) ”. It should also be noted that the balance of trade in services showed a surplus in decline of 48.9% (- 10.950MDH), due to the decline in exports more accentuated than that of imports. Remittances made by Moroccans living abroad increased by 41.8%, reaching 20.894MDH at the end of March 2021 against 14.733MDH at the end of March 2020. Alain Bouithy