2013-01-01 01:08:53 - Morocco Business Forecast Report Q4 2012 - a new country guide report on companiesandmarkets.com
Despite not possessing hydrocarbon wealth, the economy will remain a relative outperformer in North Africa over the medium term. Though 2012 will prove a challenging year as exposure to the European recession takes its toll, investor interest in the country as an export-oriented manufacturing hub for the European market, coupled with a burgeoning tourism industry, should bode well for Morocco´s underlying growth momentum through to 2015.
We expect inflation in Morocco to continue rising through the remainder of the year. Although core inflation will remain subdued, higher food prices and the scaling back of government fuel subsidies will send the headline print higher, and we forecast inflation to reach 2.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) by end-2012, up from 0.9% at the end of
Major Forecast Changes
On the back of a series of tax hikes, as well as plans to cut back on public spending on energy subsidies, we have revised down our forecast for Morocco´s fiscal deficit in 2012, from 6.2% of GDP to 5.5%. That said, we stress that it is far from guaranteed that planned subsidy reform will be implemented in full, and as a result, the country still faces significant fiscal risks.
Key Risks To Outlook
Our forecasts for both economic activity and fiscal policy assume that Morocco will benefit from significant inflows of foreign aid from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other organisations in 2012. Should this assistance fail to materialise, it would pose serious downside risks to the country´s outlook. Morocco´s balance of payments position is steadily deteriorating.
Persistently high international commodity prices and weak growth in the eurozone are taking their toll on the current account, while financial account inflows have consistently failed to cover the shortfall. While we are not expecting to see a dirham devaluation in the near term â owing primarily to political considerations â the risks to this view are growing, and the possibility of a devaluation over the next 12 months is no longer negligible.
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