November 2, 2011 / 3:40 PM / 6 years ago

Morocco GDP growth to ease in Q3: planners

A general view of the Sofitel Hotel in Marrakesh May 10, 2007. Morocco's economic growth likely slowed to an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter, below the country's full-year target after a slowdown in mining and tourism, the planning authority said on Wednesday.Jean Blondin

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco's economic growth likely slowed to an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter, below the country's full-year target after a slowdown in mining and tourism, the planning authority said on Wednesday.

"This slight slowdown has stemmed mainly from declines in the growth rates of non-agricultural (sectors)," the High Planning Commission (HCP) said in a report.

The annual growth of the mining sector's value-added likely slowed to 2 percent during the third quarter from 2.3 percent in the second quarter and 14 percent a quarter earlier. The HCP did not explain why.

The HCP also expects the added value of the tourism sector to record a quarter-to-quarter decrease of 1.8 percent in the July-September period, which coincided with political turmoil in the region and economic uncertainties in the European Union, Morocco's main source of tourists.

The central bank last month said hotel and restaurant activity recorded a 3.8 percent drop in the second quarter, its worst quarterly performance since the first quarter of 2009.

Tourism contributes close to 10 percent of Morocco's economy and directly employs 450,000 people.

After growing by 4 percent to around $95 billion in 2010, Morocco's gross domestic product grew 5 percent during the first quarter of this year and 4.2 percent in the second, according to the central bank.

The finance ministry forecasts a 5 percent growth for all of 2011.

The HCP also forecasts inflation to be at 1.1 percent by the end of 2011. The rate, as measured by consumer prices, fell to an annual 0.8 percent in September having hit 2.2 percent in August.

Core inflation would however rise to 1.4 percent in 2011 from 0.3 percent in 2010 in what the HCP attributed to a rise in domestic food prices reflecting increases in global markets.

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