Morocco's trade deficit swells 48.7% in H1 as energy imports soar

RABAT, Aug 1 (Reuters) - (This August 1 story corrects headline to say H1 instead of Q1)

Morocco's trade deficit widened 48.7% to 150.5 billion dirhams ($14.6 billion) in the first six months of this year, as global commodities prices surged, the foreign exchange regulator said on Monday.

Imports rose 44.2% from a year earlier to 365.5 billion dirhams, while exports increased 41.2% to 215 billion dirhams, the regulator said in a monthly report.

Morocco's energy bill soared the most, up 124.7% to 71.4 billion dirhams, while cost of wheat imports climbed 55% to 13.3 billion dirhams, as the drought-hit country reaps a meagre harvest.

Morocco, which has the world's largest phosphates reserves, saw its exports of the mineral and its derivatives - including fertilisers - grow 84.3% to 57.4 billion dirhams.

The automotive sector led industrial exports with 52.8 billion dirhams, up 30%.

Tourism revenues tripled to 27.3 billion dirhams, recovering from restrictive measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Remittances from Moroccans abroad, crucial to the country’s inflow of hard currency, increased 6.1% to 47 billion dirhams, while foreign direct investment rose 44% to 21.5 billion dirhams.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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