Morocco economy ‘may grow 5.2pc in 2012'
Rabat, August 13, 2011
Morocco said it expects its economy to grow by between 4.7 and 5.2 per cent in 2012, near forecasts for 2011, on the assumption of an oil price 33 per cent above the basis for this year's budget.
In remarks carried by the official MAP news agency, Finance and Economy Minister Salaheddine Mezouar put at 2 per cent the inflation forecast for next year, up from 1.4 per cent forecast for 2011, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The 2012 outlook is based on an average oil price of $100 per barrel versus $75 for the 2011 budget. A country of 33 million people with no oil of its own, Morocco imported 5.24 million tonnes of crude in 2010, official data shows, and demand is growing by 6 per cent annually.
The non-agricultural economy is expected to grow by between 5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2012, said Mezouar, noting that it clocked a 5.1 per cent increase in the first half of 2011.
The minister did not disclose forecasts for agriculture's growth or grains harvest, key in determining wheat import needs for a country that heavily subsidises food products and where 40 per cent of the workforce works in farming.
The state expects the burden of food and energy subsidies to fall by almost 8 per cent to Dh40 billion ($5 billion) in 2012, compared to this year, Mezouar said.
The government raised subsidies to Dh43 billion from an initially budgeted Dh17 billion for 2011 as it sought to avert any spillover from revolts rocking the Arab region.
The push to calm street protests eroded Morocco's public finances and raised concern over its ability to fund key projects at a time when it was struggling to cope with high oil and grain prices.
The minister did not disclose forecasts for next year's budget deficit nor did he update the GDP growth forecast for 2011, initially set at 5 per cent.
The central bank expects the budget deficit to rise to as high as 5 per cent of gross domestic product in 2011 from the government's initial 3.5 per cent forecast.
In 2010, the budget deficit stood at 4.5 per cent of GDP, or Dh35.1 billion. The spending spree in 2011, coupled with the surge in energy and wheat prices, forced the government to sell assets that have so far netted Dh6 billion this year. – TradeArabia News Service