Morocco 2015 growth seen at 4.8%, deficit narrower - planning chief - CNBC Africa

Morocco 2015 growth seen at 4.8%, deficit narrower - planning chief

Financial

by Reuters 0

Morocco's grain production is expected to rise again in 2015 after improved rainfall. PHOTO: eastagri.org

This is according to the head of its planning agency, Ahmed Lahlimi Alami.

The forecast for this year is higher than a previous government estimate of 4.4 per cent. Alami also said Morocco’s budget deficit was set to narrow to 4.5 per cent in 2015 from five per cent in 2014.

(READ MORE: Morocco Q4 growth slows to 2.7%, 4.1% in Q1 2015)

Speaking before a press conference, Alami said the agency expected Morocco’s total debt to dip to 63.5 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of 2015 from 64.3 per cent at the end of 2014.

“We hope the government will keep up with the reforms that it has started; that is the only way to reduce deficits further,” Alami told reporters later.

He said the agricultural sector of the economy was expected to grow 9.3 per cent while the non-agricultural economy would expand 4.1 per cent.

Morocco has done more than most North African countries to make painful changes required by international lenders to curb deficits, such as ending fuel subsidies and freezing public sector hiring. The government still controls the prices of wheat, sugar and cooking gas.

The more than 50 per cent drop in global oil prices is also a boost for Morocco’s economy as it is the biggest energy importer in the region.

(READ MORE: IMF approves US$5 billion for Morocco)

The planning agency said Morocco’s current account deficit was likely to rise slightly to 6.1 per cent of GDP in 2015, from 6.0 per cent in 2014.

Bad weather cut Morocco’s grain output to 6.7 million tonnes in 2014, from 9.7 million in 2013, but production was expected to rise again in 2015 after improved rainfall.

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